An Open Letter to David Cameron Regarding Foreign Ownership of Shakespeare's Curtain Theater
10 Downing Street
December 18th, 2015
Dear Prime Minister,
Re: The Shoreditch Stage Development
(or, Much Ado About Something)
I find it extremely distressing that in an attempt to upgrade the Shoreditch landscape, Hackney Council delayed renewing a lease to tenants protected by the 1954 Rent Act, so it could sell a 250 year lease, of a national treasure, to foreign ownership.
I am referring to the virtual freehold leasing of the land, which includes The Curtain Theater, one of England's most historic sites, to a shell company, the majority ownership of which was quickly transferred overseas. I have chronicled below the course of events, for your staff to investigate, for you to formulate a proper reply.
There are three issues that I would like addressed in your reply.
Firstly, why did Hackney Council delay issuing the new lease, that was due under the 1954 Rent Act, while it negotiated the sale of the premises that we had leased since 1987 for development.
Secondly, why, following the 2012 discovery of Shakespeare's Curtain Theater, did Hackney Council issue a 250-year lease on the land that encompassed the theater, in exchange for a percentage of the rents received to a newly-founded company with no assets.
Thirdly, why was Fairchild Place Ltd.'s control of Shakespeare’s Curtain Theatre, not restricted from being sold to overseas investors.
Thank you in advance for your attention to these issues.
1) Hackney Council Confirm a Lease Renewal for Archways 500-505
During 2011: Hackney Council inform Loco Sales Ltd. that there is a new lease being prepared for 'Archways 500-505, Shoreditch' as first granted to them in 1987 and as protected under the 1954 Rent Act.
2) Plough Yard Developments Is incorporated.
Sept. 2011: Shoreditch residents Rebecca, Sarah, Tania and Alexander Bard incorporate as Plough Yard Developments, with £100 share capital.
3) Loco Sales Ltd. Apply to Hackney Council for Their New Lease
May 2012: Loco Sales Ltd. ask Hackney Council for their new lease and then are told that it is still under preparation.
4) Discovery of Shakespeare's Curtain Theater
June 2012: Shakespeare's first Theater 'the Curtain' is discovered on Hackney Council land adjacent to Archways 500-505, Shoreditch, as leased by Loco Sales Ltd.
5)Loco Sales Ltd. Apply to Hackney Council for a Lease Renewal
May 2012: Loco Sales Ltd. ask Hackney Council for their new lease and are told that it is still under preparation.
6) Planning Application Submitted for the Land Incorporating Shakespeare's Curtain Theater
Feb. 2013: Planning application no. 2012/3871 is submitted by Plough Yard Developments to substantially develop the 2.3 acre public land site that includes both 'Archways 500-505, Shoreditch' and the Curtain Theater.
Plough Yard Developments was formed in June 2011 by Shoreditch land owners, the Bard family, and has a net worth of £39,510 www.companiesintheuk.co.uk/ltd/plough-yard-developments
7) The Planning Application Is Granted
July 2013 - Planning permission for planning application no. 2012/3871, as above, is granted to Plough Yard Developments. (*)
8) Fairchild Place Limited Is Incorporated
Feb. 2014: Sarah Bard establishes Fairchild Place Ltd. with £100 share capital.
9) A 250-Year Lease for the Land Is Granted to Fairchild Place Limited
Nov. 2014: Hackney Council grant Fairchild Place Limited a 250-year lease on the land that includes both 'Archways 500-505, Shoreditch' and the Curtain Theater, in exchange for 45% of the ground rent received. Fairchild Place Limited at that time had a net worth of £49,340. www.companiesintheuk.co.uk/ltd/fairchild-place
10) Fairchild Place issue a Section 25 (1954 Rent Act) to Loco Sales Ltd.
January 2015: Loco Sales Ltd. is told that their lease is not to be renewed and is offered an amount, less than the statuary compensation by Fairchild Place, to vacate. They refuse and file a request with the court to grant a new lease on the grounds that Fairchild Place is not in a position financially to develop the land.
11) 'The Stage Shoreditch Limited' Is incorporated
Mar. 2015: The Stage Shoreditch LLP is formed and owned 75% by Cain Hoy Enterprises (the American Private Equity Company associated with the Guggenheim Family) and McCourt (the UK arm of American McCourt Global, the real-estate investment and entertainment company who owns the Los Angeles Dodgers); 20% by UK property developer Galliard Homes and 4% by Investec Investments (International providers of specialist banking services in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Ireland and Hong Kong). www.companiesintheuk.co.uk/ltd/the-stage-shoreditch
12) Fairchild Place Ltd. Is Purchased by 'the Stage Shoreditch Limited'
May 2015: The sole director, Sarah Bard, resigns from the board of Fairchild Place Limited to be replaced by the directors of The Stage Shoreditch LLP. The share capital is increased from £100 to £180,000, held by nominees in the Channel Islands.
13) Hackney Council Deny A Request For the 250-year Lease Under The Freedom of Information Act
May 2015: Jules Pipe, Mayor of Shoreditch, refuses to provide a copy of the 250 year lease citing 'sensitive commercial issues.'
14) The Scale of the Project is Made Public
June 2015: The media announce that the scale of the £750m project is to include a 40 story residential tower and Amazon UK HQ and a new Curtain Theater.(**)
15) 21% of 'the Stage Shoreditch Limited' Is S old to Chinese Developers
Nov. 2015: Chinese property developer, Vanke, purchases a of a 21% stake in The Stage Shoreditch LLP (***).
16) 'The Stage Shoreditch Limited' H as Only 20% UK Ownership
Dec. 2015: As it now stands, the 250-year lease on this valuable public land, which includes a national treasure, is 20% UK owned, 21% Chinese owned and 59% American owned through Channel Island Nominees.
17) Judicial Inquiry
No Judicial Inquiry information can be found.
18) Loco Sales Current Position
Loco Sales Ltd. has a lease hearing set for July 2016.
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'The Stage' Project Overview
The project, known as The Stage, incorporates the remains of Shakespeare’s 16th century Curtain Theater, where Romeo and Juliet was first performed. The deal will see Plough Yard Developments Ltd retain the freehold while granting a new 250-year lease to the consortium to develop the 2.3-acre site, which has consent for a £750m GDV mixed-use scheme including a 40-storey residential tower and over 250,000 sq ft of office, retail and leisure accommodation set around over an acre of vibrant public space. The remains of the Theater will also be excavated and preserved as part of the development, providing a new tourist attraction for domestic and international visitors. Working alongside the consortium, Plough Yard Developments Ltd will keep a stake in this internationally important heritage visitor centre. - See more at: http://www.redleafpr.com/media-centre/client-news/property-pr/cain-hoy-leads-consortium-to-develop-750m-mixed-use-scheme-at-the-stage-shoreditch/#sthash.nXrBlhMb.dpuf
* The development will comprise 385 residential units from studios to penthouse apartments all with balconies or roof terraces in a 40-storey residential tower building, which also provides a gym, private cinema and business facilities.
Two office buildings totaling 250,000 sq ft will serve the technology media and telecommunications sector and 50,000 sq ft of retail space, cafés and restaurants will serve residents and visitors alike. Despite not being required due to high archaeological costs, 40 affordable housing units will be provided off site, delivered by Family Mosaic.
The scheme’s centrepiece will be a showcase of London’s second oldest Shakespearean playhouse, the 16th Century Curtain Theater – where Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Henry V were first performed, which was discovered during archaeological investigations in 2011.
The Theater and related finds will be excavated, preserved and exhibited in a 13,000 sq ft space including a 164-seat indoor auditorium, all designed by Pringle Brandon Perkins+Will, the firm behind the interior architecture of the recently launched Mary Rose Museum and Siemens’ The Crystal exhibition centre.
Externally, a 200-seat outdoor performance space will link to a new, 1.3 acre open square that will be brought to life with shops, bars, cafés and restaurants.
** The project, known as The Stage, incorporates the remains of Shakespeare’s 16th century Curtain Theater, where Romeo and Juliet was first performed. The deal will see Plough Yard Developments Ltd retain the freehold while granting a new 250-year lease to the consortium to develop the 2.3-acre site, which has consent for a £750m GDV mixed-use scheme including a 40-storey residential tower and over 250,000 sq ft of office, retail and leisure accommodation set around over an acre of vibrant public space. The remains of the Theater will also be excavated and preserved as part of the development, providing a new tourist attraction for domestic and international visitors. Working alongside the consortium, Plough Yard Developments Ltd will keep a stake in this internationally important heritage visitor centre.
2.3-acre site, which has consent for a £750m GDV mixed-use scheme including a 40-storey residential tower and over 250,000 sq ft of office, retail and leisure accommodation set around over an acre of vibrant public space. - See more at: http://www.redleafpr.com/media-centre/client-news/property-pr/cain-hoy-leads-consortium-to-develop-750m-mixed-use-scheme-at-the-stage-shoreditch/#sthash.szmy11Tm.dpuf
*** Real estate giant China Vanke Co Ltd has entered the United Kingdom commercial realty sector after buying a 20 percent stake in a London property development project.
According to Estates Gazette, a weekly magazine on commercial property sector in the UK, Vanke has acquired the stake in the 750-million-pound ($1.16 billion) The Stage development project in Shoreditch, an area that is extremely popular with several London-based Web technology companies.
Vanke has spent more than 30 million pounds acquiring the stake from the former equity holders-Cain Hoy Enterprises, McCourt Global, Galliard Homes and Investec Structured Property Finance.
The Stage project, in the north of London, comprises a 40-story tower with 385 apartments, and was home to the Curtain Theater back in the 16th century. The Curtain Theater was the first stage that performed William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and Henry V. The project will include a new tourist attraction celebrating William Shakespeare.
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