Canary In The Coal Mine? Almacantar Converts Centre Point Restaurant To Offices
It is only a small deal, but it may be a sign of things to come: Mike Hussey’s Almacantar has converted part of its Centre Point development in the West End from restaurant use to offices and let the space to a Japanese property company.
Kajima has taken occupation of 5,500 SF at 10 St Giles Square, at the base of the famous Centre Point tower, for its new European headquarters.
The space was designated for restaurant use in the original layout, situated above Arcade Food Theatre, which opened in 2019, and Din Tai Fung, which will open later this year. Almacantar applied for a change of use to B1 office last summer in response to shifting tenant demand in the West End, ahead of the changes to use classes, which came in during September.
Kajima carried out both the category-A and category-B fit-out works as part of the agreement, with a contribution provided by Almacantar. The lease term is for 10 years and two months, with a break option at five years and two months. The fit-out has been designed by Gibson Thornley Architects, and Kajima moved into the space last month.
Almacantar bought Centre Point in 2011 and converted most of the tower’s office space to residential apartments, along with new restaurants and cafés. The company is owned by super-wealthy shareholders, including a company controlled by the Agnelli family, as well as the Wertheimer family, owners of Chanel.
Even before the national lockdown that began in January, footfall in the West End was down almost 40% at the start of December, according to data from the New West End company.
West End retail and restaurant landlords like Shaftesbury and Capco have seen their income hit hard as tenants reduce rents or close outlets. With that in mind, more owners could follow the lead of Almacantar and look for alternative uses for restaurant sites, while demand remains uncertain.