Mayfair Office Squeeze Spawns New London Hot Spots: Real Estate

Aiming to build on London’s status as a leading exporter of financial services, Britain hopes to step up the challenge to Islamic finance centres such as Dubai and Kuala Lumpur. “We want to be the leading (Islamic) finance sector outside of the Muslim world,” deputy mayor of London Edward Lister said in a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday. Islamic finance follows religious principles such as bans on interest and gambling, and is playing an increasingly prominent role internationally as often oil and gas-rich investors from Islamic countries put more of their money to work overseas. Britain’s Islamic finance task force, established in March, is led by several ministers and industry figures as well as top executives from Gatehouse Bank and Oakstone Merchant Bank Ltd. It was launched ahead of London hosting the World Islamic Economic Forum in October and its mandate is to facilitate Islamic financial business, including investment in British infrastructure by Islamic sovereign wealth funds. The forum, which saw 28 billion ringgit ($8.6 billion) worth of deals inked last year, is being held outside an Islamic city for the first time. Islamic finance has already played a role in several major deals in London, with Qatari investors taking part in funding the city’s Shard tower, Harrod’s department store and the athletes’ village used for last year’s summer Olympics. A Malaysian consortium is also spearheading the redevelopment of London’s Battersea power station, after acquiring the site for 400 million pounds last year. Malaysia is the second largest investor in London’s real estate market behind the United States. “The task force has just started and its aim is to make it easier for banks in London to have Islamic products, which is still quite a new concept to any of them,” Lister said. “Only now people are beginning to understand what the products actually mean and how they comply …

Brandy Stuns In An Elegant Dress In London

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13. Celebrity Photos: September 2013 Julianne Hough wore short shorts in NYC on Sept. 13. Celebrity Photos: September 2013 Drew Barrymore shopped at Barneys store on Madison Avenue in New York City on Sept. 12. Celebrity Photos: September 2013 Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge attend the Tusk Awards in London on Sept. 12. Celebrity Photos: September 2013 Nicole Kidman arrived in style to the Calvin Klein Fashion Show, part of New York Fashion Week in New York City on Sept. 12. Celebrity Photos: September 2013 Olivia Munn grabbed some iced tea while walking though the East Village in New York City on Sept. 11. Celebrity Photos: September 2013 Reese Witherspoon was spotted chit-chatting on her phone, which was covered in a custom Minnie & Emma’s iPhone case, in Century City, Calif., on Sept.

Image Makeover Whats great about Victoria is that we have sites that can accommodate buildings with floor-plates of 20,000 square feet or more, said Kaela Fenn-Smith, Land Securities head of leasing. American Express Co., Google Inc. ( GOOG:US ) and Microsoft Corp. ( MSFT:US ) already occupy modern buildings in Victoria near strips of offices built nearly half a century ago mostly to accommodate government bureaucrats. Land Securities is tearing down 1960s-and 1970s-era buildings to create the type of space companies desire these days, Fenn-Smith said. Land Securities plans are going to completely change the perception of Victoria from a tenants perspective, Blackstones Lock said. Blackstone sees an opportunity in the Adelphi Building on the Strand, a street known for theaters and its proximity to Trafalgar Square. Its seeking at least 55 pounds a square foot for the lower three floors and more on higher levels of the 13-story tower overlooking the River Thames. Bigger Spaces The New York-based firm, the biggest manager of private-equity property funds, plans to spend 25 million pounds refurbishing the Adelphi to attract tenants whose leases are expiring in Mayfair and St. Jamess. Its also trying to get technology, media and telecommunications companies looking for bigger spaces, according to Lock, who leads Blackstones U.K. real estate purchases. Offices at nearby Soho Square, a favorite of technology and media companies like Twenty-First Century Fox Inc., go for 65 pounds a square foot, according to Lock. Workplaces on the Strand can now accommodate those sort of rents, he said. Tenants occupying 26 million square feet of central London offices have the option to move by the end of 2016, according to Lock.

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