British Land strikes £470m bet on Crossrail property gains

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PROPERTY developer British Land yesterday bought the majority of a west London office complex for £470 million in a bet the capital’s Crossrail east-west train line – due to open in 2018 – will boost real estate prices.

The UK’s second-largest listed developer acquired offices, shops, a hotel and development sites from insurer Aviva at the Paddington Central scheme.

British Land chief executive Chris Grigg said : “Paddington Central is one of London’s most important transport interchanges and that’s only going to increase in importance with Crossrail.”

The £15 billion commuter line will slash journey times and connect Heathrow airport in the west to the Canary Wharf financial district in the east.

Property prices could be lifted between five and ten per cent within 200 metres of a Crossrail station, JPMorgan analysts have predicted.

In another deal boosted by the proximity of a Crossrail station in the Tottenham Court Road shopping district, plans to revamp and convert the Center Point tower into flats were granted planning permission on Thursday.

“With Crossrail’s arrival, there is growing impetus behind the drive to revitalise this part of London and Centre Point has to be at the forefront of that,” said Mike Hussey, chief executive of developer Almacantar.

In March, British Land raised almost £1 billion for new investments via a share placement and sale of an office block in the City of London where it is one of the parties behind the so-called Cheesegrater skyscraper. Paddington Central houses firms including AstraZeneca and Nokia.