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Canary Wharf to transform Royal Dutch Shell site

Canary Wharf Group has been chosen to transform five acres surrounding Royal Dutch Shell’s headquarters on London’s Southbank – one of the capital’s last remaining big development sites.

By 6:20AM BST 25 Jul 2011

The oil group has picked a bid by Canary Wharf, which is majority owned by Songbird Estates and Qatari Diar, the property investment arm of the emirate’s sovereign wealth fund, to develop the site. The pair are thought to have offered about £350m to secure the mandate. The deal, which is expected to be confirmed within days, will result in houses, offices and shops being built around the Shell Centre near Waterloo station in central London.

Canary Wharf and Qatari are expected to knock down three low-rise buildings around Shell’s tower and build more than 1.5m sq ft of offices, shops and homes.

However, they will not redevelop Shell’s 27-storey headquarters – designed in the 1950s by the architect Sir Howard Robertson. Some of Shell’s staff will move to a temporary office in Docklands before work begins.

Plans to redevelop the area date back more than a decade. In 1997, the company announced proposals to build shops and a leisure centre in the area although the scheme stalled.

The oil company launched a search for new developers last year. Other bidders are thought to have included Development Securities in partnership with Carlyle, and Chelsfield in partnership with the Livingstone brothers. Development Securities and Carlyle pulled out last week after it became clear that Shell intended to go with Canary Wharf and Qatari Diar.

Canary Wharf is best known for developing 100 acres of offices in London’s Docklands area. The company recently built BlackRock’s City headquarters and is in partnership with Land Securities to erect the 37-storey Walkie Talkie tower.

Other developments currently being built in London include The Shard, by London Bridge station, which is set to become one of the most recognisable landmarks in the capital and will be completed in time for the 2012 Olympics.


The Shard is one of Canary Wharf’s current London projects Photo: BLOOMBERG
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