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Garden Centre

24.07.20

Capco, the property company that manages over 1.2 million square feet on Space in Covent Garden, has said they are confident in the long-term resilience of the West End, despite the value of the estate decreasing by 17%.

The total property value decreasing by £2.2 billion as at June 30, compared to £2.6 billion as at December 31.

Like rivals, the company saw retail and restaurant businesses have to shut sites in March when the Covid-19 lockdown started. That impacted the ability of some tenants to pay rent. Occupiers on the estate have been able to reopen, but footfall in the capital is currently low due to less tourists and office workers around.

During the pandemic Capco moved to work with tenants. It said solutions have been agreed which include rent deferrals, rent-free periods and other arrangements reflecting the position of each customer.

For certain tenants which are experiencing short-term cash flow issues, rental agreements will be linked to turnover for the second half of the year in exchange for other provisions such as lease extensions.

Capco said 98% of Q1 rents were collected. However, rent collection for the March (Q2) and June (Q3) quarter rent dates have been significantly lower than normal levels with 44% collected for former and 27% for the latter.

Overall 71% of rent has been collected in the first six months of the year compared to 99% for the same period in 2019.

The company, led by Ian Hawksworth, said it is implementing a number of marketing initiatives and collaborating with stakeholders to promote Covent Garden and the West End, encouraging a return of footfall to normal levels over time.

The area now features a new al fresco, socially distanced dining area on the Piazza. With many of the area's restaurants open for take away, it provides the opportunity for visitors to dine outside in the heart of the West End.

Capco said the majority of retail and hospitality customers on the estate have reopened or are set to reopen imminently.

It added: “Whilst initial indicators are encouraging, the trading environment remains challenging. It is too early to predict when footfall will return to previous levels whilst physical office occupancy remains significantly reduced, and with the ongoing travel restrictions and fragile consumer sentiment.”

But Capco added that “is confident in the long-term resilience, attractiveness of and prospects for prime central London, in particular the West End”.

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