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Canary Wharf Group Eyes Life Sciences Sector And Cheaper BTR Product

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Canary Wharf London

Canary Wharf Group is working on diversifying the type of property it offers at its east London estate, including a cheaper build-to-rent offering and a potential move into the life sciences sector. 

Speaking at Bisnow’s London State of the Market digital summit, Canary Wharf chief executive Shobi Khan said the company’s expansion into various types of residential is now broadening, and it is looking at opportunities to develop rented residential elsewhere in London. 

On the estate itself, the company has three luxury BTR products with about 1,000 units combined, Khan said, with two in lease-up now, and the third set to start leasing up in January. It is about to start building an intermediate product and is working on an affordable product, he added. 

“The intermediate product is great for folks earning below £60K,” Khan said on a panel moderated by Addleshaw Goddard Head of Real Estate Adrian Collins. “And we are now in the midst of designing and developing an entry-level product, so that when we offer opportunities to residents, we’ve got various products based on where they are in their career that we can offer them. 

“That hopefully creates this vibrant community where they can live and walk to work and shop and go to restaurants, in clean air and with parks, etc. And the idea is to take that skill set and [intellectual property] and take that to other parts of London.”

On a separate panel, Brookfield Managing Partner for Europe Zach Vaughan said the company is looking at expanding its UK life sciences real estate business by building space for the sector at Canary Wharf. Brookfield owns Canary Wharf Group in a 50/50 joint venture with the Qatar Investment Authority.  

“We’re looking at opportunities in our existing portfolio, for example at Canary Wharf, places that have great connectivity, where we can create some medical or lab type of space. So we are bullish on the sector,” Vaughan said. 

Canary Wharf is in the first phases of building Wood Wharf, a 5.5M SF mixed-use estate adjacent to the original Canary Wharf estate, which could accommodate a significant life sciences cluster. That sector is set to expand in the UK over the coming years.