10-year plan to double size of Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf Group is looking to double the size of the east London financial hub of the same name by 2021, soaking up capacity for an extra 100,000 passengers a day from Crossrail and undertaking demand-led developments, its chairman and chief executive said yesterday.
Speaking after CWG's majority owner Songbird reported a return to the black, with half-year profits of £97.6m following a £11.3m loss a year ago, George Iacobescu said: "There is a lot more capacity to build in and around Canary Wharf and I hope it's not only going to be Canary Wharf Group [doing the development]." He added that doubling the estate's size could take 10 years.
Canary Wharf is a 97-acre estate with about 15 million sq ft of offices and retail in London's Docklands. CWG owns about 6.9 million sq ft of that and has consent for a further 5 million sq ft.
At 30 June, the market value of CWG's retained investment property portfolio was £4.7bn.
As part of its existing expansion plans, it has a venture to develop a site for 4.9 million sq ft of offices and 1,668 homes in the nearby Docklands area of Wood Wharf with the Irish developer Ballymore and the government body British Waterways.
The Richard Rogers-designed masterplan took a back seat to CWG's activity in central London when the financial crisis hit. It is in a joint venture with Land Securities to build the tower known as the Walkie Talkie and will redevelop Shell's London HQ with Qatari Diar.
The idea of expanding the size of Canary Wharf hinged on public transport capacity to the Docklands business area, which on the completion of the Crossrail project linking east and west London in 2018 would rise to about 235,000 people a day, Mr Iacobescu said.
"Right now, with all the improvements on the Docklands Light Railway, and the Jubilee Line and buses and so on, you have about 135,000 people capacity," he added. About 200 million people will travel on Crossrail every year, meaning an extra 1.5m people within a 45-minute commute of central London.
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