Universal Music sounds out King’s Cross pre-let

The music giant behind stars such as Taylor Swift, Rihanna and Paul McCartney is close to signing a deal for a mega pre-let at Argent’s King’s Cross redevelopment.

Universal Music UK - which owns labels such as Polydor and Virgin EMI Records - is under offer to take the whole of 4 Pancras Square, Property Week understands.

The UK arm of the global music publishing group will become the latest big name to head to King’s Cross, which was once considered a fringe West End office market.

Universal’s decision to pre-let the 174,570 sq ft building, which does not complete until 2017, is further evidence of the scramble for space in the stock-starved West End.

The weight of demand for the £1bn King’s Cross scheme - already home to international heavyweights such as tech giant Google, fashion brand Louis Vuitton and French media giant Havas, as well as the University of the Arts London - is such that Universal is understood to have fought off competition from the likes of Capita to snap up the space at 4 Pancras Square.The 10-storey building is believed to have an asking rent in the mid-£70s/sq ft.

Universal Music UK, owned by French media conglomerate Vivendi, occupies offices in Kensington, west London, including 364-366 Kensington High Street and Kensington Village.

Jamie Shuttle, partner at Edward Charles & Partners, said King’s Cross had become a “new quarter of London” and was now outperforming other parts of the West End.

The 67-acre estate behind King’s Cross station is being redeveloped by Argent on behalf of its partners BT Pension scheme, which is managed by Hermes Real Estate, government body London & Continental Railways, DHL Supply Chain and AustralianSuper.

The government and DHL’s stakes are currently up for sale via Savills and Lazard and are expected to fetch north of £400m. Bids are due next week.

Savills and DTZ - now Cushman & Wakefield - advised Argent. CBRE advised Universal. Universal Music UK could not be reached for comment. All other parties declined to comment.

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