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Green Park considering new mixed-use ‘hub’ area

July 2019 - Thames Tap

Green Park considering new mixed-use ‘hub’ area

Green Park owner Mapletree is considering options for three new developments totalling more than 800,000 sq ft.

A mixed-use scheme, likely to feature retail, a hotel, apartments and relocation of the current conference centre from 100 Longwater Avenue, is next in the pipeline once the current new office buildings which have just begun at 400 and 450 Longwater Avenue, are let.

Delegates at the Reading Social event, held at the Green Park conference centre on July 2 and sponsored by Clancy Consulting, heard about the plans from Rory Carson, vice president of asset management in the UK for Mapletree,

He said the development, earmarked for 500/600 Longwater Avenue, is likely to vary from the historic planning consent for a 240,000 sq ft scheme because of the changes to Green Park in recent years, notably the new residential. It will help provide evening and weekend trade for the new retail outlets.

He told guests: “The environment around it has changed quite a lot because of the arrival of Green Park Village and the station. We are rethinking the best way to bring forward the development of that plot.

“There will probably be a mix of uses as Mapletree own a hotel brand called Oakwood so we would probably put an Oakwood hotel and serviced apartments in there.

“Additional retail would serve both the businesses park and the Green Park Village residential development. We will probably move this conference centre to bring more of a hub feel to that plot.”

A later development at 700/800/900 South Oak Way, initially designed as 319,000 sq ft of offices, could now include a data centre.

And a third new scheme at 600 South Oak Way currently has permission for 188,200 sq ft of offices.

He said Mapletree is now incorporating wellness into the design of its new buildings.

Green Park is currently 95 per cent full and its only vacant space, which totals 80,000 sq ft, is spread across six buildings and occupiers wanting more than 20,000 sq ft have had to be turned away. The arrival of long-awaited Green Park station is now planned for September 2020, although Mr Carson said its schedule is not under Mapletree’s control.

Reading Borough Council has already instructed Balfour Beatty to build the station and the authority’s recent application for a new station building came about because it gained an additional £2.5m of funding and can now make it a manned station. It was previously going to be unmanned.

Mr Carson talked guests through the park’s 20-year history from when Prudential began landbanking to assemble its 188 acres. It has changed hands twice and, in the last sale, Mapletree bought it from Oxford Properties for £560 million. Oxford Properties had bought it for £400m in 2011.

Successful sectors include TMT which makes up for 50 per cent of the park’s space but, increasingly, life science operators are taking space.

* Image (l-r): Steve Dixon, director at JDP and raffle winner; Rory Carson; Sukh Chana, director for Clancy Consulting and Hugh Blaza from UK Property Forums who hosted the meeting.