Derwent Valley buys West End's Astoria

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Derwent Valley, the London office specialist, has completed the assembly of a large development site opposite Centre Point.

Derwent Valley has bought the Astoria Theatre music venue and a neighbouring building from Compco Holdings for £23.75m.

The properties, at 157-165 Charing Cross Road and 17 Oxford Street, W1, are next to a large block already owned by Derwent Valley that stretches towards Soho Square.

The developer plans an office and retail scheme of more than 300,000 sq ft (27,870 sq m).

The Astoria is let to a subsidiary of Clear Channel Entertainment UK. With the two shops in the block, it has a gross area of 42,348 sq ft (3,934 sq m). Rent totals £1.1m a year and the leases expire in 2008.

The building at 17 Oxford Street comprises 3,267 sq ft (304 sq m) of retail space let to Unilever subsidiary Lever Fabergé for 25 years from June 1997, at a passing rent of £176,750 a year. Derwent Valley acquired the buildings from Delancey Estates and AMP in 2001 for £12.5m.

With holdings at 135-145 Charing Cross Road, the properties form part of a site running from Oxford Street to Goslett Yard. Derwent Valley plans to demolish the buildings and start on site after 2010.

The scheme is a key part of the recently created West End Special Policy Retail Area, which is part of the changes to the London Plan announced by the London mayor last week (news, 09.06.06).

John Burns, Derwent Valley managing director, said: ‘The site could contain more than 300,000 sq ft of retail and offices.'

The site has already been earmarked by the government as part of the Tottenham Court Road Crossrail station, which would lie beneath it. Director Paul Williams said Crossrail would not hinder the development of the area.

The area is to undergo wider development. Land Securities owns three retail blocks and has been buying large parts of the north side of Oxford Street. It has appointed architect Terry Farrell to draw up a masterplan for the area. Centre Point itself has just been refurbished.

Michael Elliott & Partners acted for the vendor; Jones Lang LaSalle acted for Derwent Valley.

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