The long-awaited start of work comes as a result of a government change to planning laws in relation to community infrastructure levy (CIL) regulations, otherwise known as planning gain. This has removed the risk of a potential CIL being applied on the whole development as opposed to just the minor amendment. On large scale projects such as Kingsgate, the potential bill could have been millions of pounds.
The scheme, designed by Lynch Architects, comprises two new buildings: The Zig Zag Building, a 190,000 sq ft office building over 14 floors with a staggered façade; and Kings Gate, a 12-storey residential building with 100 apartments. The buildings are planned to complete in summer 2015.
Land Securities chief executive Robert Noel said: “It is heartening to know that the government has listened to the industry and acted to remove some of the uncertainty in the planning process. It enables us to progress with developing the former Kingsgate House site and continue to transform Victoria into a distinct and vibrant West End hub where people choose to live, work and visit. Our experience with our current developments demonstrates that Victoria is proving attractive to potential occupiers. This project will further add to its appeal.”
Land Securities is spending more than £1bn on construction projects at the moment. In 2010, it was the first major commercial property developer to restart large scale development after the downturn, when it started a £655m West End development programme. Since then it has advanced a development pipeline of over 2.5 m sq ft. Retail schemes in Leeds and Glasgow are due to complete next year, and in London it has more than 1.6m sq ft of office space and 250,000 sq ft of residential development in the works.
The new Victoria development follows on from the neighbouring refurbishment of 123 Victoria Street, providing 199,000 sq ft of offices, Wellington House, comprising 59 residential apartments and 62 Buckingham Gate, providing 278,000 sq ft of new retail and office space.