Transport for London (TfL) has launched a new commercial real estate company and is building thousands of square meters of office space and housing to generate money for the transport network. TfL’s new property venture aims to build 20,000 homes over the next 10 years, half of which will be affordable, according to the commercial property director.
The Transport Authority has just diverted £2bn of real estate assets to build a “portfolio of new business offices” – starting with 600,000 sqft of new space above Bank, Paddington and Southwark railway stations. The new property vehicle hopes to unlock “much larger investment” in TfL’s existing business park, which already has over 1,000 retail units in and around stations and over 850 arches across London.
Graeme Craig, director of commercial development at Transport for London, said at the London First Think Tank conference on Wednesday (May 11): “At various points I wasn’t sure if we were going to pull it off [the pandemic], given TfL’s precarious financial situation. But he added that building plots will help close the gap: “Tfl currently has 1,700 homes under construction, averaging the 50 per cent affordable target since May 2016.” TfL lost up to 90 per cent of its homes during the pandemic fare revenue and had to rely on government bailouts – most of which came with strings attached to find extra money or cut costs.
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(Image: Nate – photo agency via London First)
Developments – many of which are built on top of Tube stations – include Blackhorse View in Walthamstow, East London, and London Mews in Barnet. “We are increasingly focusing on ‘Build to Rent’. By the end of the year we will have 4,000 homes under construction in 22 locations,” Mr Craig said.
TfL has already started projects at Montford Place (Lambeth), Annos Grove (Enfield) and Nine Elms on the Northern Line. In February, Transport for London (TfL) and property giant Grainger were given the go-ahead for 162 new apartments above listed Arnos Grove Tube station after the government’s Planning Inspectorate overturned the local council’s rejection of the plans.
Mr Craig said: “It’s about how we generate long-term revenue… The new commercial real estate vehicle is now financially separate from TfL. We have a lot of money to invest over and around London’s transport network.” He said trading partners are already in place to build two-thirds of a target of 20,000 homes within ten years: “We have the land. The other half of the equation is a long-term dividend for TfL. We want to reinvest in the transport network.”
The TfL executive announced plans for new developments at Southwark, Bank and Paddington stations, which will include thousands of square feet of commercial office space. “We will have the highest level of health offices,” he said, adding that funding is fully in place. A TfL source said the bank’s development above the station has received planning permission for 12,000 square meters of office space and 650 square meters of retail space, although plans could change.
Josiah joined MyLondon in October 2021 as the outlet’s first Town Hall Editor, reporting on the Mayor, the London Assembly, the Met Police, Transport for London and general London politics.
He moved to south London from Brussels in 2015, working in communications for the Electoral Reform Society and covering Westminster politics as a freelance journalist. Originally from Cornwall, he’s now a proud Londoner too. Josiah has appeared on BBC Radio 4, Times Radio, LBC and other stations to discuss current affairs and general political chaos.
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