5 June 2015 – Estates Gazette
£250m Cucumber Sandwich
The billionaire backers of European Land’s Merchant Square, W2, are considering a £250m sale of the three remaining developments at the scheme including the 42-storey Cucumber tower. The Cucumber is set to be the tallest residential tower in London’s West End and will also incorporate a hotel and a sky bar.
CBRE and JLL have been appointed to advise on the three-acre site, which has consent for a total of 600,000 sq ft of development. These include 1, 2 and 6 Merchant Square, which will comprise 250 luxury flats and 165,000 sq ft of offices. Buildings 3, 4 and 5 at Merchant Square have already been completed.
European Land is the developer and owner of the scheme which is a 50:50 joint venture between the Reuben brothers and the Jarvis family. A spokesman for the company said: “CBRE and JLL have been appointed to conduct a strategic review for the shareholders of Merchant Square regarding the three remaining buildings, all of which have full planning permission and are primed for delivery.”
Number 1 Merchant Square, nicknamed the Cucumber tower for its slender high-rise design, is the most eye-catching of the proposed buildings. Building two is a 17-storey office building that would face Harrow Road, while building six is 15 storeys and would feature mixed-tenure residential. Should the review result in an outright sale, it would be among the largest development opportunities brought to market this year and is likely to attract the interest of a global array of investors.
The overall Merchant Square campus totals 1.25m sq ft of development centred around a new garden square and is bounded by Harrow Road to the north and the Grand Union Canal at Paddington Basin to the south. The existing buildings on site were completed between 2010 and 2014. Rents on the existing office space are around £55 per sq ft.