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Sun January 23 2022

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Brexit prompts rethink on Broadgate refurbishment

16 Nov 16 British Land is scaling back its refurbishment plans for 1 Finsbury Avenue on the Broadgate estate in London.

1 Finsbury Avenue
1 Finsbury Avenue

The eight-storey steel-frame building, designed by Arup, was completed in 1984 and listed in 2015.

In October 2015 British Land received a resolution to grant planning consent for a 300,000 sq ft refurbishment. The plans included a restoration of the building’s façade as well as an extension, providing two further floors, and retail space on the ground floor. The building is being vacated by Swiss bank UBS next month. The plan was part of our wider strategy for Broadgate ahead of the arrival of a Crossrail at nearby Liverpool Street station in 2018.

However, the UK's decision to leave the European Union has prompted a rethink.

The company said today: “Following the referendum we undertook a full review of our development and capex pipeline. We will continue to monitor both occupier demand and the impact of new development completions and make choices on the appropriate course of action for each opportunity. On 1 Finsbury Avenue, for example, we are now likely to proceed with a lower cost refurbishment than was originally planned when we receive the building back from UBS in December 2016.”

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As a result of the review, British Land’s near term pipeline now comprises only 1 Finsbury Avenue and leisure/cinema developments at Drake Circus, Plymouth and New Mersey, Speke.

British Land posted a pre-tax loss of £205m for the first half of 2016 (2015 H1: £823m profit).

"The UK's decision to leave the EU marked the start of a prolonged period of uncertainty for the country, for our industry and for our occupiers," said chief executive Chris Grigg. "Ahead of the referendum, we positioned the business for a range of outcomes with modest development exposure, high occupancy with long leases, and robust finances. These features and our continuing actions mean that the business has proved resilient in the first few months following the referendum, evidenced by our improved underlying profit and the continuing volume of leasing activity."

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