Lifting the lid on the Queen’s £12 billion commercial property portfolio
It’s estimated that Queen Elizabeth II is worth around £340 million. And while it’s well known that she’s the custodian of much of our royal heritage, including Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse and Hillsborough Castle, she has also acquired a substantial commercial property portfolio during her 63 years on the throne. We take a look at what she owns.
The Queen seems to be an astute investor in commercial property and has doubled her portfolio within the last ten years. Her interests, represented by The Crown Estate Company, include, among other things, Windsor Great Park, Regent Street, farmland and most of the seabed around these islands. Let’s take a more detailed look.
Regent Street: One of the prime retail and commercial office areas of London, its occupants include Liberty, Hamley’s, and Apple’s first European flagship store. It was originally designed by John Nash in the 19th century, and Her Majesty owns 1.2 miles of it. When the 100 year leases began to run out in the early part of this century, Crown Estates began an ambitious £1 billion regeneration project. Luxury brand names flocked to the prestigious address and began a process which would turn it into one of the world’s favourite retail destinations. It even has its own app.
St James’: The Queen owns almost half the buildings in the St James’ area, which includes over 4 million sq ft of prime office, retail and residential space, worth over £1 billion. The area, which includes Piccadilly Circus, The Ritz, Trafalgar Circus and St James’ Palace, is currently undergoing a £500 million refurbishment programme. Her portfolio here includes rental properties, from studio apartment to penthouses, in some of London’s premier addresses.
Kensington Palace Gardens & Regent’s Park: Dubbed ‘Millionaire’s Row’ the properties which the Queen owns in Kensington Palace Gardens are classed as some of London’s most prestigious addresses. They include a number of foreign embassies and consulates and are regarded as some of the most beautiful Georgian and Victorian villas in the capital. She also owns around 600 properties in Regent’s Park which are privately leased.
Shopping centres: The Queen owns several shopping centres throughout the UK including Fosse Shopping Park, Leicester, Westgate Shopping Centre in Oxford, Silverlink Shopping Park, Newcastle, Princesshay Shopping Centre in Exeter, The Coliseum Shopping Park, Cheshire Oaks, and The Gate in Newcastle.
Industrial: Her Majesty’s regional portfolio also includes industrial warehousing such as White Lodge Business Estate in Norwich, as well as the Magna Park distribution warehouse in Milton Keynes which is currently let to the John Lewis Partnership.
The Crown Estate manages the seabed around the UK up to the 12 nautical mile territorial sea limit and therefore holds the rights to develop renewable energy within what’s known as the renewable energy zone (REZ). So far this year, it’s estimated that offshore wind farms have generated 18.6 TWh of electricity, which is 3.1% of the electricity currently generated in the UK. The Queen also has interests in onshore renewables, wave and tidal, carbon capture and storage and natural gas storage.
The Crown Estates estimates that in 2015/16 its net revenue profit was up by 6.7% to £304.1 million and that the Queen’s extensive commercial property portfolio has contributed £2.4 billion to the nation’s coffers over the past ten years.
If you’re interested in expanding your commercial property portfolio, perhaps not to the extent the Queen has achieved, talk to a member of our team. We have experience of sourcing, managing and disposing of a wide range of commercial property opportunities throughout the UK.
Written by: Steven Jones on Friday 25/11/2016