GPE Snags £250M Debt Facility As Redevelopment Programme Heats Up
GPE has signed a new £250M unsecured term loan as the London-focused developer and landlord embarks on a series of office and retail developments.
The move comes after the company made a number of office, leisure and retail investments in recent months as it gears up to expand its portfolio.
In May, GPE acquired the freehold of the vacant 34K SF 141 Wardour Street for £39M, which has been stripped out and has planning consent for refurbishment as offices and restaurant accommodation arranged over the lower ground, ground and six upper floors.
GPE also acquired the freehold of Bramah House at 65/71 Bermondsey Street, SE1, for £14M. The 16K SF freehold building is opposite its existing building at Woolyard, and GPE said that it will add to its fully managed campus on Bermondsey Street while bringing its fully managed partnerships space up to 418K SF.
In August, GPE announced the acquisition of King Sloane Properties, which owns the freehold interests at 16/19 Soho Square, 29/43 Oxford Street and 7 Falconberg Mews, W1, from Belgravia & Chelsea Property Services, with the cash consideration based on a property value of £70M.
The 58K SF mixed-use buildings are currently multi-let at circa £1.48M per annum with vacant possession expected by March 2024, GPE said. The 0.5-acre site has planning consent to demolish the existing buildings and deliver around 90K SF of new Grade A office and prime retail space.
The new debt facility has been agreed upon at a headline margin of 175 basis points over Sterling Overnight Index Average with three existing-relationship banks. The loan has an initial three-year term, which may be extended to a maximum of five years.
Following the new financing, GPE said that it has cash and undrawn credit facilities in excess of £470M, which will “support the delivery of our strategic priorities, including funding the group’s near-term development programme and its £175M private placement debt maturity in May 2024,” the company said in a statement.
“Despite more challenging debt markets, this new loan demonstrates the strong support that we have from our lenders for the clarity and ambition of our business model and our collective belief in the enduring appeal of London to both customers and investors,” GPE Corporate Finance and Tax Manager Holly Reynolds added in a statement.
GPE has also signed outdoor retailer The North Face for its flagship store at Walmar House, 288-300 Regent Street, with the new space comprising approximately 10K SF. Also on Regent Street, fashion retailer Joseph has signed a lease for a new store at Kingsland House, completing the repositioning of the retail offer there after TUMI, Russell & Bromley, Pret A Manger and The Body Shop completed new leases.
GPE and The Crown Estate have also exchanged an option for a new head lease and agreement for the redevelopment of French Railways House and 50 Jermyn Street, SW1. GPE’s interests at French Railways House and 50 Jermyn Street have leases expiring in 2053 and 2057 at a combined fixed rent of £13,250 per annum, and GPE had previously secured planning consent for an office-led redevelopment at the buildings.