UK property developer Argent has secured a £400m loan facility on behalf of the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership (KCCLP) to support the development of two of the world’s greenest office buildings
This financing – from Wells Fargo, HSBC UK and Helaba – represents the first loan provided for an office development in the UK that meets the Green Loan Principles, drawn up by the EMEA and Asia Pacific Loan Market Associations in March 2018.
The Green Loan Principles require the recipient project to be one that reduces emissions or the use of scarce natural resources or energy usage. The 68,085m2 development will meet a number of internationally recognised energy efficiency standards and will become home to Facebook’s new UK headquarters.
Built on a brownfield site, the buildings will include 4,300 m2 of restorative green roof that combines biodiverse wildflowers and ornamental grasses to form an important green corridor for local wildlife.
Both buildings will have at least a 50% lower carbon footprint than a typical office, largely through the supply of heat and cooling from the innovative King’s Cross Energy Centre and district cooling network. The Canal Reach offices will also be supplied electricity from what will be Europe’s largest in-building hydrogen fuel cell.
Additionally, the carbon content of every material used in the construction of the Canal Reach building is being assessed with an aspiration for it to become the office with the lowest carbon footprint in London.
Michael Lightbound, Chief Financial Officer at Argent, said: “At King’s Cross we have delivered more BREEAM Outstanding office buildings than any other developer globally.
“We are delighted that the King’s Cross project, which has been at the forefront of sustainability over the last 15 years, has now secured the UK’s first Green Loan Principles loan for the development of an office building.
“It seems very fitting this has been achieved on the back of the Facebook letting which in itself is of massive significance to King’s Cross and also the UK. This Green Loan has only been made possible as a result of the fantastic long-term support we receive from our funding partners.”
Stacey Flor, co-head of Origination at Wells Fargo CRE UK, commented: “In keeping with Wells Fargo’s commitment to sustainability, we are delighted that Wells Fargo acted as the co-mandated lead arranger and agent for this facility.
“Our financing will support Argent’s further development of King’s Cross Central by funding two outstanding sites on the estate. At Wells Fargo, we are committed to deepening our relationships with our customers, and as a long-standing client, we are pleased that our financing to Argent will complement the sustainable credentials of the area.”
David Stephens, HSBC UK’s Head of Corporate Real Estate in London, said: “This loan establishes Argent as the first amongst its peers in the field of green commercial property development in the UK. Our clients are telling us sustainability is important to them; we can now support them with our dedicated Green Loan proposition.”
Richard Bentley, Helaba’s Head of UK Real Estate, added: “We are extremely pleased to be part of this important transaction which underlines our continued support for Argent and more widely our commitment to the UK Real Estate market with a facility that reflects Helaba’s sustainability values.”
The two new office buildings have started on site and form part of the 67-acre King’s Cross estate majority owned by Australian Super alongside Hermes and Argent, transforming what was an underused area into a new part of the city with homes, shops, offices, galleries bars, restaurants, schools and a University.