St Martins Property Group
St Martins Property Group is a leading property development, investment and asset management company based in the United Kingdom representing the real estate interests of the State of Kuwait with their headquarters in London Bridge City, London. Their flagship development projects are London Bridge City, an office area, and 150 Cheapside. No new developments are being undertaken, but major new acquisitions have and are being made. St Martins Property Group has operations in the United Kingdom, Continental Europe including Turkey, Japan and Australia.
The Company was incorporated in February 1924 as The St Martins-Le-Grand Property Company Limited to carry on the business of property investment.
The company started to expand after the war years and in 1947 it merged with the Cheapside Land Development Company Limited which owned a number of London office properties. The Company then acquired Porkellis Property & General Investment Trust Limited in 1954, further expanding the portfolio of office investments.
Rapid growth was to follow after 1956, with the acquisition of a number of property companies including London & Northern Properties Limited, introducing significant portfolios of investment properties and development sites. It was during this period that the name of the Company was changed to St Martins Property Corporation Limited.
In addition to growth by acquisition, the company embarked on an extensive programme of property development and during the 1960s and 70's many schemes were completed including King's Mall Shopping Centre at Hammersmith, which was later sold in 2011.
During the 1980s the company expanded its portfolio with the completion of major office, retail and warehousing schemes including London Bridge City, Windmill Hill Business Park in Swindon, the Drummond Centre in Croydon, Monument Mall Newcastle, Cathedral Lanes Coventry, Fieldhead Business Centre Bradford and Elliots Field Retail Park at Rugby. All properties except for London Bridge City and the Windmill Hill Business Park were disposed off during 2011.
The company is currently undergoing a restructuring, selling and having sold smaller, older non-core properties and non-office stock in the UK and in Continental Europe, whilst pursuing sizeable (£100m+)quality investment opportunities in Central London first of all, and subsequently also in the largest cities in developed markets.
Globally, St Martins owns close to 1,000,000 square feet (93,000 m2) of commercial property across Europe, in Turkey, Australia and in Japan.In Australia, St Martins own 50% of the iconic Rialto Tower in Melbourne, a landmark 250 metre-high building comprising two towers of 56 and 43 floors, providing 83,500 sq m of prime office space. St Martins has also historically had various holdings in Perth.
In September 2006, St Martins acquired the 101-unit Plejada shopping centre in Sosnowiec, Poland, which was then extended and reconfigured.
St Martins acquired a new-build office building at 51 Lime Street in the City of London in June 2008. This building was later renamed the Willis Building as it is the UK headquarters of insurers The Willis Group. The Willis building is one of the City’s most iconic developments. Designed by architect Norman Foster, the Willis Building is located in the centre of the City opposite the Lloyd’s building. It is one of the tallest buildings in the City, with 45,615 sq m of space on 29 floors, together with a 10-storey building on 25 Fenchurch Avenue. It is let on a long-lease, typical of the kind of investment stock St Martins is looking to acquire.
St Martins then purchased the 27-storey luxury residential tower Lietocourt Arx Tower in Minato, Chuo-Ku, adjacent to Nihonbashi and Ginza, Tokyo's well-established business and retail district. This 281-apartment building in Japan was acquired in February 2009, and is more than 95% let.
St Martins went through a restructuring of its portfolio in 2010 and 2011 when smaller assets were sold off in the UK and in Continental Europe, plus retail shopping centres in the UK. Savills ran the portfolio sales under the code name 'Project Blue'.
Subsequently, money has been re-invested in core property acquisitions and the company remains in an acquisitive mode. The most recent purchases are 60 Threadneedle Street and 1 Bunhill Row in the City of London in 2012, and 5 Canada Square in Canary Wharf, Docklands in January 2013. In January 2014, the More London Estate, a 13-acre complex of 11 buildings, adjacent to London Bridge City, was acquired in one of the UK's largest-ever transactions. The land for this was in their ownership once before, and added 2.1m sq ft to St Martins property Corporation's portfolio.
In December 2011, 60 Threadneedle Street was acquired from Hammersons, and is a landmark office building in super-prime City of London location. the building completed in 2009 and is 99.8% let on long-term leases to quality tenants with breaks in 2019/2020. The property offers strong rental growth potential, with a current rental income of £8.8m. BREEAM rating: 'Excellent'.
1 Bunhill Row, bought in February 2012 in an off-market transaction, is an impressive headquarters building in a prime location, with a long lease guaranteed by Slaughter & May to March 2026 with a tenant's option to terminate in March 2021. This 264,000 sq ft (24,500 sqm) property currently attracts an income of £10.8m per annum, reflecting a reversionary rent. The landmark property at 5 Canada Square is let to a triple-A graded tenant, Credit Suisse, which sublets 10 floors to the Bank of America which made the building its headquarters. The property has reversionary rental income and will benefit from a Crossrail station on its doorstep.In the future the building could benefit from an increase in size upon redevelopment as 1 million sq ft is permitted.
St Martins' diverse UK assets include the prestigious London Bridge City development beside the River Thames, which contains over 93,000 m2 (1,000,000 sq ft) of office, retail, leisure and residential accommodation. The company owns a significant amount of property in the City of London. The last successfully completed development was the 19,000 m2 (200,000 sq ft) landmark office building at 150 Cheapside, adjacent to St Paul's Cathedral, and is fully let. The property at 5 Cheapside, by the entrance to St Paul's underground station and located next to One New Change, was sold off.