Property UK perspective

As a long-term property owner and partner to occupiers, we play a critical role in the evolution of cities and their ability to enable sustainable, thriving and inclusive urban spaces.

While a third of 2021 was spent in lockdown, we delivered better than expected results by focusing on our goals of sustainably supporting community success, environmental leadership and empowering an entrepreneurial culture internally.

A £1.4bn development pipeline underlines our belief in the future of central London and its recovery. Each project has been specified to the highest environmental standards and, in 2022 alone, we are on track to complete over 105,000 sq ft of space including our first net zero scheme, Holbein Gardens, and hope to secure permission to create a biodiverse haven in Grosvenor Square.

Beyond the capital, we remain equally confident in the revival of cities and, as well as substantially increasing our position in Liverpool ONE, we deployed over £90m to launch a new regional office portfolio, bringing our acquisitions UK-wide in 2021 to £244m.

Continuing to redefine the relationship between property owners and occupiers, we made six investments through our Tenant Investment Fund, just one of the innovations differentiating us as a partner and eliminating barriers to occupier success. Throughout lockdowns, all our actions were designed to ensure that our places remained some of the most sought-after destinations, welcoming back customers with buzzing streets as restrictions receded.

With retail vacancy in Mayfair, Belgravia and Liverpool ONE at 3-4% at the year end and residential rental properties full, we set the foundations to capitalise on what we expect to be a steady recovery against uncertainty caused by a cost of living surge and conflict in continental Europe.

We also made significant progress on our award-winning net zero goal, retrofitting 200,000 sq ft of space, signing 200 green leases and bringing almost a third of our London portfolio on to renewable energy – all substantial wins for schemes launched during lockdowns when many occupiers were focused on short-term survival.

Continuing our leadership on climate action, we pledged to become the UK’s first carbon neutral property company in 2025. While emissions reduction is our priority, we will take responsibility for the c.1/2 million tonnes of carbon we will emit as we drive to net zero in 2030.

Ahead of launching a business-wide social impact strategy in 2022, a new £1m+ programme – Greener Futures – was launched to enhance lives by supporting jobs in the green economy, enabling community-led climate action and improving young people’s access to nature.

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