Queen’s property empire drops half a billion to £13.4bn because of coronavirus

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Crown Estate loses £525m: Queen’s property empire spanning Regent Street and retail parks across UK drops half a billion to £13.4bn due to drop in rent during lockdown

  • Regents Street and St James’s in London are included in the Crown Estates
  • The land and property empire has seen a drop in value of £552.5million
  • Annual results published today have revalued the Crown Estates to £13.4billion 

The Queen’s land and property empire has fallen in value by £552.5million after a sudden drop in rental income from shops hit by coronavirus lockdown.

Regents Street and St James’s in London as well as retail parks across the country are included in the Crown Estates. 

It has been revalued at £13.4billion in annual results published today – after a tough year for retail sales, reported the Guardian.

Figures also showed a profit of £345million in the year up until March 31, when the UK went into a nationwide lockdown to try to stem the spread of Covid-19.

The Queen's crown estates have been revalued at £13.4billion in annual results published today - after a tough year for retail sales. Pictured, Queen Elizabeth on July 17

The Queen’s crown estates have been revalued at £13.4billion in annual results published today – after a tough year for retail sales. Pictured, Queen Elizabeth on July 17

The early profit, which was up 0.4 per cent from last year, suggested the value of the estates would have risen if not for the impact of coronavirus.

All profits are handed to the Treasury which then passes 25 per cent of the funds back to the royal family in the form of the Sovereign Grant. 

But the difficult financial year has left the Crown Estate making staggered payments to the Treasury to ensure it has enough revenue reserves to support itself.

Regents Street and St James's in London as well as retail parks across the country are included in the Crown Estates. Pictured, Regents Street in London in March

Regents Street and St James's in London as well as retail parks across the country are included in the Crown Estates. Pictured, Regents Street in London in March

Regents Street and St James’s in London as well as retail parks across the country are included in the Crown Estates. Pictured, Regents Street in London in March

The Crown Estates has so far collected 52 per cent of rents from retail tenants in central London and 53 per cent outside the capital this year.

The rental income from officers in central London in 88 per cent. 

Dan Labbad, the Crown Estate’s chief executive, said the country’s retail parks were slowly recovering.

‘We’ve seen most of our retail and food and beverage come back and want to open where they are still trading.

The St James's area of Westminster is also included within the Crown Estates. Rental incomes have fallen as footfall stagnated amid lockdown

The St James's area of Westminster is also included within the Crown Estates. Rental incomes have fallen as footfall stagnated amid lockdown

The St James’s area of Westminster is also included within the Crown Estates. Rental incomes have fallen as footfall stagnated amid lockdown

‘There have been a number of CVAs [company voluntary arrangements] and administrations,’ he said.

Company Voluntary Arrangements involve coming to an agreement over how best to settle debts. This could include paying only a proportion of the amount that a company owes to creditors.

Mr Labbad said London’s West End was ‘slowly filling up again’ following the Government’s successful Eat Out To Help Out scheme. 

What land in the UK is owned by Crown Estates? 

The Crown Estates’ income comes from rents paid by a number of retail outlets across the UK. Other funds may come from interests in agricultural land and forests.

Shopping centres owned by the crown include: 

  • Westgate Shopping Centre in Oxford and Princesshay Shopping Centre in Exeter are a 50:50 joint venture partnership with Land Securities. 
  • The Crown Estate also has a 4.97 per cent share of Lend Lease Retail Partnership which provides an equity interest in the Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent and the Touchwood Shopping Centre in Solihull. 
  • Crown Point Shopping Park  
  • MK1 Shopping Park in Aintree 
  • Shopping Park in Merseyside
  • Altrincham Retail Park in Leeds
  • Bath Road Shopping Park in Milton Keynes
  • Morfa Shopping Park in Trafford
  • Ocean Retail Park in Slough
  • Queensgate Centre in Swansea
  • South Aylesford Retail Park in Portsmouth
  • Apsley Mills Retail Park in Harlow
  • Victoria Retail Park in Nottingham
  • Morfa Shopping Park in Swansea
  • Coliseum Retail Park in Cheshire Oaks, Ellesmere Port has been bought for £81m. Edinburgh’s Fort Kinnaird, Cheltenham’s Gallagher Retail Park and Warwick’s Leamington Shopping Park are owned 50/50 through The Gibraltar Limited Partnership with The Hercules Unit Trust, a Jersey-based property unit trust.  
  • The estate recently purchased the new Rushden Lakes site in Northamptonshire from its developers.

The Crown Estate owns virtually all of the UK’s seabed to the 12-nautical-mile (22 km) limit.

Holdings consist of around 116,000 hectares (287,000 acres) of agricultural land and forests, together with minerals and residential and commercial property.

In 2002 The Crown Estate started a £1 billion investment programme to improve Regent Street. They are also investing £500 million in St James’s, including a number of major redevelopments.



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