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PEMBROKE: Rents will soar - but not ours

Jones Lang Wootton, the property adviser, has secured a remarkable bargain which should reassure those worried by warnings of booming rent rates.

The company recently settled the rent review on its 22 Hanover Square headquarters, a seven-story purpose-built office block in the heart of London, with owners Scottish Amicable and PGGM. The rent agreed equates to £26 per square foot which, if you readJLW's own research, is a fraction of the £42.50 currently paid for West End properties.

"We are very pleased with the outcome," confesses Kevin Clarke, a partner who wrote the recent quarterly property report forecasting rental growth in the capital for the first time since the 1980s.

Less pleased must be the former landlord, Prudential, which guaranteed the rent on the property when it sold the building two years ago and will now make a loss on the property.

Mr Clarke insists the massive disparity between JLW's forecast and its own recent bargain is due to old-fashioned air-conditioning and a poor layout. But readers of JWL's forecasts will be wondering why they must pay the high rents suggested by Mr Clarke.