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Hundreds of London railway arches to be opened after Network Rail’s £1.46bn sale

The new owners of over 5,200 properties following Network Rail’s £1.46bn sale of commercial property portfolio have announced plans to invest in reopening up to 430 of the empty arches in London.

Adam Dakin, the managing director of one of the successful property investors Telereal Trillium told the Evening Standard that there were 930 vacant railway arches across England and Wales, and that he wants to look at reopening swathes of the 430 that are located in London.

The company, along with Blackstone, yesterday won the bid to buy 5,200 properties, including over 4,000 railway arches and have tried to calm tenants fears over rental hikes.

Network Rail’s decision to sell of the assets were met with considerable backlash in June when Guardians of the Arches, an action group set up to combat the plans to sell the arches to private firms, said they were under “huge pressure” from Network Rail, with some businesses operating in the arches forced to close already due to rent prices.

Dakin said that his firm wanted to support existing trader tenants in London, including over 1,000 breweries, gyms and hairdressers.

He said: “We want to keep the quirky and independent nature of the tenant mix.”

It is argued by Network Rail that the major transaction will help fund the railway upgrade plan, bringing major improvements for passengers and reducing the need to fund the railway.

Sir Peter Hendy, Network Rail chair, said: “This has been a very thorough, detailed and complex process and we are pleased we’re now in a position to announce Telereal Trillium and Blackstone Property Partners as the new owners of the commercial estate.

“This deal is great news – for tenants it will mean significant commitment and investment, and for passengers and taxpayers it will mean massive, essential improvements without an extra burden on the public purse.”

Head of European Real Estate at Blackstone James Seppala said: “We are honoured to have been chosen as the new owners of Network Rail’s commercial estate.

“The portfolio is unique in its character and function, and we are excited by the tremendous opportunity for us to contribute to the continued revitalisation of the railway arches in the UK, always recognising the role that they play in stimulating economic activity, growth and prosperity, in particular amongst SMEs and local communities.”

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Image credit - Mike Quinn


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