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Friday, September 7, 2012

M'sian consortium's London Battersea Power Station job to be done in 10 years instead of 15

LONDON: The Malaysian consortium comprising SP Setia Bhd, Sime Darby Bhd and the Employees Provident Fund brushed aside scepticism and negativity by outlining an anticipated time line for the Battersea Power Station project and even shortening the 15-year duration of the project to 10 years.

Battersea Power Station Development Company (BPSDC) chief executive office Robert Tincknell said “this time, it is going to happen” at a cocktail party with guests-of- honour London mayor Boris Johnson and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala.

Earlier, Tincknell, who introduced himself and the BPSDC to a group of international analysts and fund managers, said the first phase would be crucial, as it would set the tone for the rest of theproject.

“It will be a symbol of industrial Britain once again producing power,” he said in reference to the power station which ceased operations in 1983, adding that it would be a strictly United Kingdom show, with financial backing from the consortium partners.

Tincknell: ‘We will have enough critical mass with the Northern Line.’

Depending on the demand for space, the team will work towards shortening the 15-year project to 10 years.

The strategy, he said, would be to focus on Phase 1 and possibly doing a few phases simultaneously, depending on demand.

“Fifteen years will be very conservative,” he said, adding that the weak global situation, in a twist of irony, will not be a deterrent.

“London is a global market,” he said.

The first phase of the project is expected to begin later this year with ground breaking in the second half of next year.

“We expect to begin preparatory work later this year and to break ground in the second half of next year and the completion of Phase one in 2016,” he said, adding that there was no intention to bring in new development partners.

“If someone can make the scheme even better, that can be considered,” he said.

On the issue of profitability, Ticknell said Phase one was designed to create enough equity to move the project forward.

“When this phase is completed, we will recoup the equity injected today,” he said.

On the ambitious development of 1.7 million sq ft of office space over the 39 acre site, he said the extension of the Northern Line would help provide traffic and interest to the commercial segment. “We will have enough critical mass with the Northern Line,” he said.

Tincknell said there would be 800 apartment units above a commercial podium, which will include retail, restaurants, gymnasium, pool, spa, theatre, and office studios. The units will be sold at a market value at between £900 and £950 per sq foot.

Other work under Phase one includes a new six-acre public park at the front entrance of the power station and it will front the Thames. This park will be linked to the 200-acre Battersea Park located across Queenstown Road.

Phase one will also involve the refurbishment of the power station. The four chimneys will be demolished and replicated one at a time as set out by the local council at a cost of £11bil. The rest of the refurbishment of the power station will be a further investment of £50mil.

By The Star

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