West End owner collects less than a third of rent in June | Business

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Great Portland Estates said it received less than a third of the rent owed in June from its tenants who operated stores, restaurants and pubs in central London, as the impact of the coronavirus shutdown continued to bite.The West End owner received only 28% of the quarterly rent owed by his retail and leisure tenants last month. It resorted to the collection of deposits when the troubled occupants of its properties struggled after a collapse in demand.

Most of the shops and cafes in much of the once crowded center of the capital closed until the middle of last month. Attendance has not returned to its pre-pandemic level.

GPE reported that it had collected just over half of the rent owed overall, including office rentals, reporting a total of 69% of the rent owed with the deposit.

The company said all of its offices had reopened with approved measures in place to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it is understood that most of it remains unused by the tenants.

Toby Courtauld, General Manager of GPE, said, “While the foreclosure has started to loosen and the pre-rental dynamics of our offices remain healthy, Covid-19 is disrupting the activities of many of our existing occupants, this which in some cases affects their ability to meet their rental payments. We continue to actively engage with all of our stakeholders, in particular by providing assistance to our occupants, on a case-by-case basis, to support them during this unprecedented period. ”

The GPE share price fell sharply at the start of the pandemic, with stores and restaurants having closed and most office workers started working from home. This transformed the main sites of London into a ghost town.

Courtauld said that despite difficult conditions, the owner was still in a good position. He added: “Our leverage is weak, which gives strength in these difficult markets with a significant growth capacity if opportunities arise; our portfolio is almost fully leased and our extensive development pipeline is expected to provide high quality, sustainable spaces that remain in high demand. “

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The group received 82% of the rents due in March, including the deposit paid to the occupants. He said he had £ 21.6 million in deposit deposits and bank guarantees and total liquidity of £ 390 million. She said she saw a slight 4.4% increase in rentals since March. This included signing the investment company Exane on a 15-year contract to lease part of a new block under construction at Oxford Street.

GPE is not the only property owner to receive a fraction of the rent from its commercial and leisure tenants. Hammerson, the owner and owner of the Bullring in Birmingham and the Brent Cross shopping center in north London, said earlier this month that he only received 16% of the rent due in May and June.

British Land, which owns the Meadowhall center in Sheffield and Drake Circus in Plymouth, said it received 36% of the rent owed on its retail sites and 88% on the offices, even though about two-thirds of the retailers had reopened in the end of June.

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