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British Land rents out space in London's financial district after Brexit

[LONDON] One of London's biggest commercial landlords, British Land Company Plc, said two tenants in its "Cheesegrater" skyscraper had leased additional space since Britain voted to leave the EU, indicating confidence in London's status as a financial centre.

Britons' vote on June 23 to leave the European Union has raised concerns that London will lose business and jobs to Frankfurt and Paris, leading some analysts to predict a downturn in the London property market.

"To receive commitments from occupiers so soon after the EU referendum is not only a tremendous endorsement of the building; it underlines the enduring appeal of London," Tim Roberts, head of offices and residential at British Land, said in a statement.

The Cheesegrater is now fully leased out, British Land said, after existing tenants Kames Capital, MS Amlin and Rothesay Life had committed to rent the remaining three floors, extending their current floor spaces. Two of those deals were completed after the EU referendum, but the property company did not say which two.

British Land co-owns the building, known officially as the Leadenhall Building, in the heart of City of London, with Oxford Properties. The building is shaped like a cheesegrater.

Asset manager Kames Capital had taken out a new 11-year lease that includes an extra 7,000 square feet of space over its current lease, while insurer MS Amlin has agreed to lease 13,000 square feet on top of the 93,000 it already leases, British Land said.

Specialist insurer Rothesay Life has agreed to take up about 11,000 square feet of space under a new lease in addition to the 14,000 square feet it currently occupies, British Land said.

The Cheesegrater was one of the first projects restarted by British Land in 2010 after the 2008 financial crash and was considered a risky bet at the time.

The company built the tower without substantial pre-lease commitments as it anticipated a shortage of premium commercial space in the British capital.

Shares in British Land were up 3.8 per cent at 609.5 pence at 0146 GMT, after falling by about 25 per cent since Britain voted to leave the European Union, amid mounting concerns that rental demand and sales of commercial property could be hit.

REUTERS