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Our European property activities continued to face the challenge of managing the multiple effects of Covid-19 which forced both physical restrictions and economic fallout across our markets.
Despite these challenges, we saw excellent rent collection across our Madrid, Paris and Stockholm holdings, with a marked improvement in our retail assets. This coupled with value growth in our Madrid office portfolio and a significant development profit in Paris, contributed to an improvement in our revenue profit.
Throughout the year, our property activities were very much guided by our net zero carbon pathway plans and our desire to reduce the overall environmental impact of the built environment we are responsible for. Underscoring our commitment to these goals was a report by Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB), which increased our business’s Green Star rating to 5 for our investment and development activity, placing us among the top five companies in our peer group.
In Paris, we agreed the presale of a new 2,500 sq m office building in Levallois Perret to flavour and fragrance manufacturer Mane – to be delivered in the autumn of 2023. The project design will produce a high energy efficiency building with a BREEAM Very Good certification.
Our 2021 property activities were very much guided by our net zero carbon pathway plans and our desire to reduce the overall environmental impact of the built environment we are responsible for in Europe.
We have put in place measures to minimise carbon emissions including the use of fossil fuel free machinery and the recycling of 90% of demolition materials. Additional landscaped areas at ground level and on roof terraces will augment biodiversity and overall wellbeing.
In Madrid, we completed the renovation of a 13,500 sq m office building let to Naturgy. The project included the replacement of the building’s façade with an energy efficient curtain wall incorporating a locally sourced timber frame. We also signed our first green finance agreement, the €24.5m refinancing of the Titán 8 office building in Madrid. The loan complies with the components of the Green Loan Principles and is labelled green due to Titán 8’s LEED Gold certification status.
In Stockholm, we leased over 6,000 sq m of office space in our Skärholmen shopping centre to the local authority. This will be created from repurposed retail space and consolidate the centre’s position as the heart of the local community.
As we look to the year ahead, we are hopeful that European property markets can continue their recovery but are equally mindful that questions concerning our ability to live with Covid or the effects of geopolitical turmoil on the world economy carry significant uncertainty. Our mixed property portfolio of office, retail and residential investment and development assets has proven its resilience to date.
Against this backdrop, we will help reshape Grosvenor’s European property portfolio in line with our Group’s revised strategic direction and are looking forward to the prospects of delivering schemes such as our prime office development in Paris, as well as our net zero carbon commitments.