One of London’s largest property developers has announced that it has bought a number of small properties on the corner of Oxford Street and Hanway Street, triggering speculation that it is planning a large scale redevelopment on the back of proposals for Crossrail 2.
Derwent London acquired the buildings which are all situated above the Tottenham Court Road station which connects passengers to the Central and Northern tube lines as well as Crossrail and a proposed Crossrail 2 line.
This autumn Transport for London (TfL) announced that buildings on the corner of Oxford Street and Rathbone Place would be demolished to make way for a new station entrance and a Crossrail 2 tunnel construction site if the proposals get the go ahead. Fitzrovia News was told by TfL that the Hanway Street buildings are not included in the area and not under threat of demolition.
However, Derwent’s latest land grab is east of and immediately next to the Rathbone Place area and consists of 50 Oxford Street, and 36-38 and 42-44 Hanway Street. In an announcement last week the real estate investment trust (REIT) said it paid £14.5million at £2,395 per square foot for the mostly Georgian buildings “adding to our significant Fitzrovia Estate”.
The news will cause alarm for residents and businesses in the Hanway Street area, as well as conservation groups.
The intimate little warren of streets straddling two conservation areas is currently under siege from various property developers capitalising on land values and the Tottenham Court Road “opportunity area”.
Derwent has a reputation for acquiring properties only to demolish them. The developer may be wanting to consolidate its property around the Tottenham Court Road Station ahead of Crossrail 2 works. It already owns commercial and residential buildings in Rathbone Place and Gresse Street, all of which would likely be compulsory purchased and demolished to enable Crossrail 2 to go ahead.
Previously at nearby Charing Cross Road, Derwent bought the Astoria Theatre ahead of its compulsory purchase and subsequent demolition for Crossrail but held an option to buy the site back again for development.
Derwent may be looking to acquire a cluster of buildings next to the proposed station entrance to enable it to redevelop several buildings, maximising and consolidating floorspace after construction of Crossrail 2.
We asked Derwent London about their intentions and to comment on our report but they declined to make any statement.