Hines, the international real estate firm, has secured a 36,000 sq ft leasing at Grain House, on Drury Lane in the heart of Covent Garden, the building which was acquired off-market by the Hines European Value Fund 2 (HEVF 2) in March this year.
The firm has agreed to a 15-year lease for the 91,000 sq fy scheme, which is currently vacant and has planning consent for a landmark repositioning which will combine four interlinked period buildings to deliver one consolidated modern office scheme, with street-level restaurant and retail amenities.
The refurbishment program will incorporate the addition of a two-story roof extension across the whole site, with flexible office floorplates ranging from 6,222 sq ft to 15,791 sq ft arranged around an atrium with character finishes including exposed concrete, steel and brickwork.
When completed in early 2023, the building will become the new headquarters for Hines UK and Hines Europe, which are both currently based at 5 Welbeck Street in London.
With Hines occupying three floors of the five-level building, there remains 32,000 sq ft of office space to lease, along with a further 23,000 square feet of leisure and retail space, at the scheme which has been designed by leading award-winning architects Barr Gazetas.
The building will also provide extensive external terracing and has been designed to achieve BREEAM ‘Excellent’, WELL Building’ accreditation as well as enhanced digital connectivity standards with ‘WiredScore’.
Lars Huber, CEO, Hines Europe, said: “Our new European headquarters at Grain House will provide us with exciting space where we can continue the growth trajectory of our European and UK business, and provide a highly attractive and collaborative modern work environment for our employees. It was important for us to remain in the West End, and this internationally renowned Covent Garden location represents the beating heart of London’s hospitality and entertainment sector. And with all the fantastic upgrades in the area to the public transportation network it is a rapidly evolving commercial hub.”
Paul White, HEVF 2 fund manager, said: “The Fund is delighted we could strike this lease agreement with Hines, significantly de-risking this flagship London investment. The Grain House scheme exemplifies the conviction shared by the Fund and Hines corporate management in the nature of location and design aesthetics of workspace that will flourish in a post-COVID-19 environment. We look forward to commencing work on-site refurbishing these buildings before the end of this year, delivering the best project of this scale and ambition in the West End in early 2023.”
Ross Blair, Head of Hines UK, said: “As with most companies, whether in real estate or any sector, the office is hugely important to the success of our business and performance and well-being of our team. While the extended period of remote working has demonstrated the adaptability and continuity of day-to-day operations, it has also highlighted the fundamental need to bring people together to interact, engage, be creative and inspire face-to-face.”
Hines European Value Fund was represented by Colliers, Hines was advised by Edward Charles & Co.