#4 Office building in London

In 2002, MEAG purchased the 1998-built LDN-W in the City of London district, previously Shelley House, for its real estate special fund European Prime Opportunities.

In 2016, after examining various options for the future of the property, MEAG decided to renovate it from the ground up, and began with the work in July 2019 when the ongoing tenancy expired.

Due to the high quality of the building’s existing façade, the decision was made to only replace individual elements of it. The interior, in contrast, was gutted completely and extensively modernised.

Revitalisation with a focus on sustainability

Within the course of the renovation, the entire building technology was replaced and rearranged, creating space for a real highlight: the rooftop terrace, which offers breathtaking views across London and is a huge USP when marketing the building to prospective tenants.

MEAG is also setting new standards with the LDN-W in terms of the property’s energy footprint. It uses a leading-edge heating and cooling system that is the first of its kind in Great Britain – fan coils with heat exchangers over a 6-way vent – which reduces the building’s energy consumption by 40%, and its carbon emissions by 42%.

This is flanked by other measures that in sum amounted to the LDN-W already being given an “Excellent” for its planning by the well-known British sustainability certifier BREEAM. This is the world’s leading acknowledgement for rating the sustainability of buildings, and thus an important award when marketing sustainable buildings.

MEAG is also aiming to gain the highest Wired Score certification (Platinum), to show that the LDN-W is also fit for the digital future. This award assesses a building’s digital parameters. The LDN-W also boasts a Smart Building infrastructure.

Furthermore, there will be no car park beneath the building in the future. 144 bicycle parking spaces and 14 showers and changing rooms will feature in its place.

An ambitious schedule – especially in times of Corona

The work was scheduled for completion in autumn 2020; an tight plan, but just every-day business for the team around Katja Rincker, Head of Real Estate Development. This unit is involved in real estate projects from the start of the feasibility studies to the planning and realisation of the construction work, through to the properties going into operation. Throughout this entire process they manage internal and external teams that cover topics like coordinating the planning and building work, collaborating with the leasing, asset and property management teams and, in the case of fund properties, managing the fund. It also coordinates external service providers and on-site quality assurance.

The team of real estate project managers comprises mainly architects and structural engineers, but also includes industrial engineers and real estate economists.

“We all have many years of expertise and experience working in real estate development, but Corona has been a whole new challenge for all of us. Normally we visit the construction site once a month, but since London went into lockdown in mid-March, we can only view the progress of the LDN-W project on Skype. But that is better than nothing when one considers that many other construction sites have been periodically shut down completely. We were lucky in terms of the British pandemic situation, because our team there was able to continue work with a reduced staff and under strict safety precautions,” Birgit Weyrather explains.

The restrictions included social distancing, one-way traffic on the building site and accessing the upper floors by stairs instead of lifts, leading to some stops and delays in the work. And the closing of various production sites caused supply bottlenecks. Established processes were suddenly interrupted, and creative thinking was the order of the day. “But we are now at the stage where we have firm commitments again, and we are optimistic that LDN-W will be ready by the coming winter,” Weyrather confirms.    

The public sector also took steps to help the construction work to continue; reducing parking fees for some time and suspending the city road toll so that tradespeople could come to work in their own cars instead of having to travel by public transport.

“In addition to all this, the LDN-W is something special for us for other reasons as well, like its enormous 10,500 square metre size, its prestigious location in the London City and the international project team,” Birgit Weyrather enthuses. Along with everyone else on the project, she looks forward to seeing the finished results and already envies the future tenants – not least of all because of the spectacular rooftop terrace with the beautiful view over the London skyline, which she will no doubt be able to get a taste of one day when she is allowed to go there.

For more on this topic, go to https://www.ldnw.co.uk/