Curtain Not lifted on £750m Shoreditch JV deal


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Is Hackney Selling Public Land To American Developers to Pay Retiree Staff Pensions through a Beard Company



The future of The Stage, a £750m Shoreditch development, which at its heart sits the remains of the 16th century Curtain Theatre where Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet was first performed, looks assured with its owners having selected funding and development partners for the 2.3-acre mixed use scheme, CoStar News can reveal.

US private equity firm Cain Hoy, in partnership with Galliard Homes has been selected by the Bard family’s Plough Yard Developments to help bring forward the scheme which will include a 40-storey residential tower, comprising 385 homes; two office buildings totalling 250,000 sq ft; and 50,000 sq ft of retail space.

Allsop and CBRE were appointed by Plough Yard Developments earlier this year to find a joint venture funding partner on the scheme.

Plough Yard will grant a new 250-year lease on the site and retain the freehold interest as part of the deal, which is expected to sign imminently.

The remains of London’s second oldest Shakespearean playhouse, which were discovered on the historic site in 2012, will be excavated, preserved and exhibited over 13,000 sq ft, including a 164-seat indoor auditorium designed by Pringle Brandon Perkins+Will. Once completed, it is expected to become one of the UK’s pre-eminent tourist attractions.

Externally, a 200-seat outdoor performance space will link to a new, 1.3-acre open square with shops, bars, cafés and restaurants. An existing 19th Century Victorian railway viaduct will be restored to accommodate shops spilling out onto a plaza and with a 7,800 sq ft ‘urban park’ on top.

The office space, with the largest floorplates at around 14,000 sq ft, is likely to appeal to occupiers from the technology media and telecommunications sector. The residential tower will also include a gym, private cinema and business facilities.

Despite not being required due to the high archaeological costs, 40 affordable homes will be provided off site, delivered by Family Mosaic.

The site is bounded by Curtain Road, Hewett Street, Plough Yard and Hearn Street and once developed, The Stage along with Principal Place will provide a ‘bridge’ between the City, Sptialfields and Shoreditch.

All parties declined to comment.

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Letter to Jules Pipe, Mayor of Shoreditch

Response from Shoreditch Mayor Jules Pipe


Dear Jules,

Re: The lease between Hackney Council and Plough Yard Developments as below: Land: AGL328169 Lease signed: 24.11.2014 Description: land on the west side of Fairchild Place Lease period: 13.11.2014 to and including 12.11.2264.

I am writing to the Lord Mayor because I am concerned as to the reason behind Hackney Council refusing my request, under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI15-0330-19401), for a copy of a recently issued 250-year lease of a valuable one-hectare parcel of Shoreditch land, which includes the site of the recently discovered Shakespeare’s Curtain Theatre.

When I initially applied for the document on March 30, exactly quoting the relevant references on the Land Registry Office document, I received a request from Alison Blackwood, Executive Officer, Corporate Director's Office Finance & Resources Directorate, for more detailed information. I then provided her with the Land Registry document. Today, after a twenty-day delay, during which time Hackney admit to having consulted with the lessee, Plough Yard Developments Ltd., I received a refusal to release the document on the grounds that it 'would be likely to prejudice commercial interests.'

Why is this document secret, and why has Plough Yard Developments Ltd., which public records show to have a net financial liability of £-94,643, been granted such a valuable lease? And, as they are currently negotiating to transfer their rights under a new 250-year lease to a company controlled by the American private equity company, Cain Hoy Enterprises, and UK home builder, Galliard Homes, this is a classic case of a 'property flip' of invaluable public lands.
Lisa Foster



Lease for land on the west side of Fairchild Place

Thank you for your email regarding the above matter, which was received on 24 April 2015.  I was sorry to hear of your concerns, and I apologise for the delay in responding whilst I have awaited information from Property Services regarding this matter.

In your email, you raise a concern that the lease with Plough Yard Developments for the above site has not been made publicly available.  Whilst your email suggests that the Council has put at risk ‘invaluable public land’, I have been assured that the Council granted this lease to ensure that it might mitigate that very risk, and achieve the best value and public outcome for this site.

The Council’s ownership of the old viaduct at Fairchild Place had a negligible value at the point of contracting with the neighbouring “Special Purchaser”.  The condition of the building was such that the cost of its restoration would have defrayed the benefits of ownership, thus in an open market sale it would have returned very little benefit to the Council, and its future thereafter would have been uncertain.  However, with the neighbouring development site coming forward to planning consent, the Council property was endowed over night with a value very substantially greater than its sale value independently of The Stage scheme in the open market.  The deal the Council negotiated with Plough Yard was to convert a substantial liability into a long term asset for the Council.  In conservation terms, it means the Council retains some control over the future use of the site, in contrast to what it would have achieved by simply releasing it to the market and seeking the highest bidder.  For Plough Yard, it brings a much more substantial opening to Great Eastern St than would have otherwise have been available to them, which enhances the value of their scheme.  From a Planning point of view, it secures a much improved public realm offer.

Plough Yard will retain the asset as part of The Stage scheme which has a very strong conservation philosophy, and I understand that it will be sympathetically restored and made fit for a productive use well into the future, and a use which will enable the public to appreciate some of the heritage that this historic piece of retired infrastructure represents.

I hope that this response reassures you as to the reasons behind the Council lease.  With regards to your specific request for a copy of the lease, I have referred this matter on to Chris Pritchard, Assistant Director Property Services, for consideration.  I have been assured that Chris will respond to you directly on this matter shortly.  In the meantime, if you have any further questions with regards to the lease please contact Chris on or 0208 356 3700.

Yours sincerely

Jules Pipe Mayor of Hackney






The project, known as The Stage, incorporates the remains of Shakespeare’s 16th century Curtain Theatre, 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 theatre 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.

Jonathan Goldstein, Head of European Investments and Cain Hoy, said: “This is an historic site at the heart of one of Central London’s most vibrant areas. Shoreditch, home to the capital’s internationally famous ‘Tech City’, is an exciting residential, commercial and investment destination. We are pleased to be working on this deal with our partners Galliard Homes – with whom we already have a joint venture arrangement platform – and MG Properties. Alongside other investments such as Islington Square and Millharbour, this deal further highlights our ability to act decisively to deploy significant capital.”

Sarah Bard of The Estate Office, Shoreditch, said: “Pringle Brandon Perkins and Will's scheme, designed by John Drew and Therese Bak, celebrates the historical and cultural importance of Shakespeare's ‘The Curtain’ theatre amidst first class design. We are delighted to be working with Cain Hoy, MG Properties and Galliard to deliver The Stage - a unique place in Shoreditch to live, work, shop and play. This will be a world-renowned destination in the London Borough of Hackney - home to the very first example of Elizabethan theatre.”

Simon Tager, Real Estate partner at King and Wood Mallesons, said: “We were delighted to act for the Cain Hoy, Galliard Homes and MG Properties consortium on their exciting venture in the heart of Shoreditch - it was a complex, multi-disciplined transaction relating to a historic part of Central London that is now strategically positioned for investment and mixed-use development and where there will certainly be heightened activity in the years to come. We hope this is the start of a long relationship with the consortium on both the unique development of The Stage and beyond.'



Why would Hackney grant such a lease to Plough Yard Developments, a company with no visible means of support, and then allow them to flip it:
 Does the National Heritage agree with The Curtain Theatre being owned, for 250 years, by Americans?


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