Flags displaying the Royal Dutch Shell company logo fly above the company’s UK headquarters in London yesterday. Qatar’s sovereign-wealth fund and Canary Wharf Group have won UK government approval to construct offices and 877 homes in eight buildings at the site of Royal Dutch Shell’s London headquarters near the London Eye.Bloomberg/London
Qatar’s sovereign-wealth fund and Canary Wharf Group have won local-government approval to construct offices and 877 homes in eight buildings at the site of Royal Dutch Shell’s UK headquarters near the London Eye Ferris wheel on the River Thames.
Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment and the controller of the Canary Wharf financial district received permission late on Tuesday from Lambeth Borough Council for a project that includes more than 1.2mn sq ft (111,000 sq m) of offices and apartments across eight buildings ranging from five to 37 storeys. The tower occupied by Shell since the 1960s will remain part of the development.
About 20% of the new homes will be for low-income residents and the developers will pay as much as £24.5mn ($37mn) to the borough, according to a filing on the council’s website. Not all of the affordable homes will be on the Shell Centre site.
The development is in London’s Southbank district, where investors have spent about £500mn on real estate in the past six months, Investment Property Databank and broker Farebrother said in a May 20 report. Offices in the area generated returns of 9.6% in 2012, the second-highest in London, according to the report. The West End was top with returns of 10.6%.
Qatar spent $60bn a year abroad between 2008 and 2012, according to International Monetary Fund data. The nation’s sovereign-wealth fund has, through various units, amassed stakes in high-profile UK real estate during the spree, including the Shard skyscraper, the Chelsea Barracks luxury-housing development and Harrods department store.