Great Portland Estates lets Rathbone Square office space to Facebook

London property investment and development company Great Portland Estates plc (GPE) has revealed that all of the office space in its development at Rathbone Square, W1 has been pre-let to social media company Facebook UK Ltd (Facebook).

According to GPE, Facebook has signed an unconditional agreement to lease the entire 227,324 square feet of consented office space at Rathbone Square. The building will be occupied by Facebook on a 15 year term without break from practical completion to shell and core condition, scheduled for February 2017. The company will pay an initial rent of GBP16.9m after receiving 30 months rent free from completion of the offices and a capital contribution to ensure it is fit out to be one of the best Category A office spaces in Soho.

Facebook has also signed a conditional agreement to lease another 15,461 square feet, subject only to GPE obtaining planning consent from Westminster City Council (WCC) for a change of use on this space from retail to office. On receipt of this planning consent, Facebook’s total occupation of GPE’s One Rathbone Square development would be 242,785 square feet.

One Rathbone Square was acquired by GPE from Royal Mail Group in September 2011 and received planning approval in October 2013. The 418,698 square foot mixed use development also includes 142 high quality private residential apartments and 24,222 square feet of retail around a new public garden square.

The company added that following this pre-letting to Facebook, 87% by value of Rathbone Square will be either pre-let or pre-sold.

In addition, GPE has also agreed to provide Facebook rights of first offer on: office space at 73/89 Oxford Street, W1, known as 1 Dean Street; and on co-terminus leases with One Rathbone Square. 

Portfolio director of GPE, Neil Thompson, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Facebook into the GPE portfolio and we look forward to providing them with a world class London headquarters in this outstanding development.

“We’ve long believed in the potential of the East End of Oxford Street, and have built an enviable portfolio of developments totalling almost 700,000 sq. ft. in the area. An endorsement of this scale from one of the world’s largest and most recognised brands, along with the arrival of Crossrail in 2018, will help transform this exciting part of the West End.”

Facebook’s head of EMEA, APAC and Americas Real Estate, Robert Cookson, added:

“The move to our new offices at One Rathbone Square highlights our commitment to invest and grow our talented teams of people based in London, from engineering and analytics to partnerships and design, who help us connect over a billion people on Facebook across the world. This is a fantastic opportunity to occupy a high quality new development in the heart of the West End. The location has excellent amenities and connectivity, with the very best the city has to offer right on the doorstep including Crossrail once it is established.”