Ton-up for Helical Bar at Barts Square

Helical Bar has confirmed the sale of over 100 units at its Barts Square scheme in EC1.

Barts Square

The £500m project – a JV with The Baupost Group – is reimagining a 3.2 acre swathe of the Square Mile just south of Smithfield Market. Nineteen different buildings are being transformed as part of the redevelopment, which will eventually deliver 236 resi apartments plus lots of office space, retail and some major public realm improvements.

Delivering its full year results (which included a record 37% leap in pre-tax profits to £120m), the firm said it had now exchanged contracts on 102 of the 144 Phase One resi units, with another two under offer. Prices have been averaging £1,580 per square foot so far.

Completion of the initial phase is due in summer 2017; the other 92 units will be added when Queen Elizabeth II Building, 62 Bartholomew Close, 42-44 Little Britain and 45-47 Little Britain are demolished as part of Phase Three.

The firm is also gearing up to get cracking on a new scheme over in Covent Garden. Planning was granted for a new 68-unit resi-led project at Drury Lane & Dryden Street last month.

Here’s boss Michael Slade with his (final) Chief Exec’s Statement: “I am extremely proud to announce today’s record results which show rental levels, investment gains, pretax profits, shareholders’ funds and EPRA net asset value per share all at the highest level in Helical’s 32 year history as a real estate company. These results clearly demonstrate that our strategy of targeting London for capital growth and development profits and the regions for higher yielding investment assets provides the most appropriate allocation of resources to enable us to meet our long term objectives. “The greatest proportion of our performance this year has come from London where we have increased our portfolio weighting, primarily with the purchase of The Bower EC1. We also increased our weighting in industrial assets whilst reducing our exposure to retail. We have sold our Polish assets and continue to deliver on our retirement village programme.

“Since 2012, we have targeted an income producing investment portfolio representing at least 75% of our total property assets with our development programme making up the remaining 25% which is capable of producing exceptional profits. We have now exceeded our original targets and, as we complete the current development programme over the next three years, our objectives are clear.

We seek to:

  • Complete and let our London office schemes at The Bower, One Creechurch Place, One Bartholomew Close and Charterhouse Square;
  • Complete the residential scheme at Barts Square and sell the remaining units;
  • Capture the reversion in our investment portfolio;
  • Maintain and grow a sustainable investment income surplus; and
  • Take forward our London schemes in Hammersmith and Drury Lane and at the appropriate time restock the London development pipeline to enable us to continue to create capital growth and development profits.

“We aim to do this against a background of increasing uncertainty, exacerbated by the imminent possibility of the UK voting to leave the European Union. However, with substantially increased contracted rents on our portfolio and having de-risked our two largest London office developments at One Creechurch Place EC3 and One Bartholomew Close EC1, Helical is well placed to deal with any headwinds that may come its way.

“This will be my last Chief Executive’s Statement after nearly 32 years with the Company. I joined the Board on the 21 August 1984 when the equivalent share price was around one pence per share giving a market capitalisation of c. £800,000 and with Helical Bar plc a steel company making reinforcement bars for the construction industry. I joined the Company to change things. With a quick sale of the steel business followed by over 30 years as an entrepreneurial property company, Helical has grown to have a current market capitalisation of over £460m having distributed £276m to shareholders during that period. I now look forward to becoming Chairman and leave the Company in the excellent hands of my successor, Gerald Kaye, and the wider executive team who have an average tenure with the Company of a mere 19 years! I look forward to continuing both on the Board and as the Company’s largest shareholder and am confident that Helical’s outperformance will continue.”

Read up on the recent management changes at Helical Bar here