SJ Berwin keeps hold of British Land relationship with Shoreditch deal

SJ Berwin has taken the lead on British Land’s latest real estate deal after the company won the bid to redevelop the Shoreditch Estate, leased by the City of London.

The developer will take up a 150 year lease on three sites over two acres fronting Shoreditch High Street and Norton Folgate, marking the latest in a string of property deals on central London turf.

British Land, the UK’s second largest property company by market value, emerged the victors from a hotly-contested bidding process earlier this month. The 300,000 sq ft Shoreditch Estate is home to the UK’s growing technology industry, providing opportunities to real estate developers as the banking sector becomes less prominent in the City.

The Shoreditch move is slightly different from the kind of thing they’ve done in the past, it’s a kookier, less traditional kind of skyscraper development,” said SJ Berwin international real estate head Bryan Pickup.

Real estate partner Pat Jones led the transaction with associates Katherine Medcalf and Rachel Burns assisting. Pickup and Jones also advised British Land on the leasing of 111,000 sq ft of the new 47-storey Leadenhall building to insurance company Amlin in May this year. Amlin was advised by Clyde & Co.

SJ Berwin also advised British Land on its £470m acquisition of the majority of Paddington Central in July, working alongside a team from Carey Olsen’s Jersey office, and is acting for the developer on ongoing work related to its joint venture with Blackstone on the Broadgate Tower.

Central London is a different world from everywhere else,” said Pickup. “In the commercial world that’s where the activity is and that’s where the demand is higher, that’s where the new buildings are being built and why the sovereign wealth funds from elsewhere are buying those places, and pushing the prices and demand for creating a quality product.”

SJ Berwin has been British Land’s go-to adviser for many years. Michael Goldberg is the client relationship manager, but others including Pickup take lead roles on a range of both retail and office deals. Other key advisers include Mayer Brown on office real estate and Jones Day on retail matters. The company currently instructs on a flexible basis but is becoming more formal in its approach (4 March 2013).

“British Land were our first clients so of all of our clients they’re the ones we know the best,” said Pickup.