REO gets initial OK for Battersea project
Real Estate Opportunities (REO), founded by Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett, has been given planning permission for a £5.5bn (€6.5bn) development of the Battersea Power Station site in London.
The National Asset Management Agency is among the main lenders to REO, which has debts of €1.8bn. NAMA and other lenders, including Lloyds Bank, have agreed to roll over loans to allow the scheme to go ahead.
Treasury Holdings-backed REO's plan was approved by Wandsworth Council, the local authority in Battersea. The scheme now has to be approved by London's mayor and the UK government. REO paid £400m in 2006 for the site.
The planning permission is for the largest-ever development in central London.
A previous planning application was turned down.
The proposals include more than 3,400 new homes, office space, hotels, shopping and leisure facilities. Under the plan, the power station would be restored, and a new tube station would be built.
REO is seeking a new investor to help finance the development but had been unable to sign up new backers without planning permission.
REO bosses Barrett and Ronan want to transfer ownership of the Battersea site to a new company to move ahead with the development.
Speculation in London has been that Sovereign Wealth Funds from the Middle East could make likely partners.
Under the new plans the former turbine halls of the disused power station will be used for large scale public events.
Plans to redevelop Battersea have been proposed and then shelved for a decade.
If given the final go-ahead, the project could take more than a decade to complete, according to REO. The project could create more than 15,000 jobs and provide 500 affordable homes. (Bloomberg)