5 December 2018

First UK Green Loan for commercial development provided to King’s Cross

UK property developer Argent has secured a £400 million loan facility on behalf of the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership (KCCLP) from Wells Fargo, HSBC UK and Helaba to support the development of two of the world’s greenest office buildings.

This financing represents the first loan provided for an office development in the UK that meets the Green Loan Principles, drawn up by the EMEA and Asia Pacific Loan Market Associations in March 2018, which require the recipient project to be one that reduces emissions or the use of scarce natural resources or energy usage The 68,085m2 development will meet a number of internationally recognised energy efficiency standards and will become home to Facebook’s new UK headquarters.

Built on a brownfield site, the buildings will include 4,300m2 of restorative green roof that combines biodiverse wildflowers and ornamental grasses to form an important green corridor for local wildlife. Both buildings will have at least a 50 per cent lower carbon footprint than a typical office, largely through the supply of heat and cooling from the innovative King’s Cross Energy Centre and district cooling network. The Canal Reach offices will also be supplied electricity from what will be Europe’s largest in-building hydrogen fuel cell.

Further to this, the carbon content of every material used in the construction of the Canal Reach building is being assessed with an aspiration for it to become the office with the lowest carbon footprint in London. The buildings will fit the King’s Cross Estate’s ethos of encouraging low carbon commuting through the provision of more than 700 cycle parking spaces within the two buildings.

Michael Lightbound, Chief Financial Officer at Argent, said: “At King’s Cross we have delivered more BREEAM Outstanding office buildings than any other developer globally. We are delighted that the King’s Cross project, which has been at the forefront of sustainability over the last 15 years, has now secured the UK’s first ‘Green Loan Principles’ loan for the development of an office building. It seems very fitting this has been achieved on the back of the Facebook letting which in itself is of massive significance to King’s Cross and also the UK. This Green Loan has only been made possible as a result of the fantastic long-term support we receive from our funding partners.”

Stacey Flor, co-head of Origination at Wells Fargo CRE UK, said: “In keeping with Wells Fargo’s commitment to sustainability, we are delighted that Wells Fargo acted as the co-mandated lead arranger and agent for this facility. Our financing will support Argent’s further development of King’s Cross Central by funding two outstanding sites on the estate. At Wells Fargo, we are committed to deepening our relationships with our customers, and as a long-standing client, we are pleased that our financing to Argent will complement the sustainable credentials of the area.”

David Stephens, HSBC UK’s Head of Corporate Real Estate in London, said: “This loan establishes Argent as the first amongst its peers in the field of green commercial property development in the UK. Our clients are telling us sustainability is important to them; we can now support them with our dedicated Green Loan proposition. The funding demonstrates the Bank’s commitment and dedication to the green loan market, which we are determined to support and develop. This is part of our commitment to provide $100 billion in sustainable financing and investment by 2025.”

Richard Bentley, Helaba’s Head of UK Real Estate, said: “We are extremely pleased to be part of this important transaction which underlines our continued support for Argent and more widely our commitment to the UK Real Estate market with a facility that reflects Helaba’s sustainability values.”

The two new office buildings have started on site and form part of the 67-acre King’s Cross estate majority owned by Australian Super alongside Hermes and Argent, transforming what was an underused area into a new part of the city with homes, shops, offices, galleries bars, restaurants, schools and a University.

Media enquiries to:

Penny Thorp

Twitter: @HSBCUKBusiness @argentllp

For the latest news and updates, visit the HSBC UK newsroom: https://www.about.hsbc.co.uk/news-and-media 

Note to editors:

HSBC UK serves around 14.5 million customers across the UK, supported by 32,000 colleagues. HSBC UK offers a complete range of retail banking and wealth management to personal and private banking customers, as well as commercial banking for small to medium businesses and large corporates.

HSBC UK Bank plc is a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc, which is part of the HSBC Group – one of the world’s largest banking and financial services groups with assets of US$2,603bn at 30 September 2018. Linked by advanced technology, the HSBC Group serves customers worldwide from around 3,800 offices in 66 countries and territories in Europe, Asia, North and Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa.

Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through 7,950 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 37 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 262,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 26 on Fortune’s 2018 rankings of America’s largest corporations. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.

One of the leading banks in the German financial capital of Frankfurt, the Helaba Group employs approximately 6,100 people and has a total asset of EUR172 bn. It offers a complete range of financial services from a single source for companies, banks and institutional investors. Helaba provides innovative, high-quality financial products and services for the Sparkassen. It serves as the Sparkasse central bank for Hesse, Thuringia, North Rhine-Westphalia and Brandenburg, making Helaba a strong partner for some 40 percent of Germany’s Sparkassen. Helaba is also the regional market leader in retail banking through its subsidiary Frankfurter Sparkasse and has a presence in direct banking through 1822direkt. Landesbausparkasse Hessen-Thueringen, Helaba’s independent home loans and savings division, uses the Sparkassen as sales partners and is the market leader in both Hesse and Thuringia. WIBank, which comes under Helaba’s Public Development and Infrastructure Business unit, supports development programmes for the State of Hesse. Helaba also engages in many areas of public life by sponsoring groundbreaking cultural, educational, environmental, sports and social projects.

Since 1981, Argent has delivered some of the best mixed-use developments in the UK. It is involved in the full development process – from identifying and assembling sites, developing designs and obtaining planning permission through to financing, project management of the construction process, letting, asset management and disposals. It also manages and maintains buildings and estates. Argent has a team of over 150 people; in 2016 it formed Argent Related, with best-in-class American property company Related, a new business to deliver all future projects.

For more information about Argent, visit www.argentllp.co.uk

King’s Cross
King’s Cross is London’s new creative quarter, home to 67 acres of inspiring businesses and outstanding architecture, destination restaurants and a vibrant cultural scene. The area’s industrial past has inspired the 50 new and repurposed buildings; the public spaces between them are a mix of parks, streets, squares, and gardens, with Granary Square and its fountains as a heart.

Over 12,000 people now work in the area in companies including Google, Havas, PRS for Music, Louis Vuitton, Camden Council, The Office Group, Vistaprint, Autotrader and ArtFund. A further 800,000 sq foot of office space remains to be delivered.

King’s Cross has close to 2,000 homes – a mix of private, rental, student and affordable housing – in 18 residential buildings. All have been designed with care; the stand-out development is Gasholders London, 145 apartments built within Grade II-listed cast-iron gasholder frames.

Already known as a foodie hotspot, King’s Cross is now establishing itself as a retail destination. Nike, 18Montrose, Jigsaw, & Other Stories and Waitrose are already open, with Carhartt WIP also set to open a new store shortly. The retail vision will complete in late 2018 when Coal Drops Yard, London’s newest shopping street, opens in a pair of redesigned Victorian coal buildings, creating 100,000 sq ft of boutiques, shops, bars and restaurants in the centre of King’s Cross.

The King’s Cross estate is owned by the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership, made up of Argent and pension fund Australian Super.


Green Loan Principles
Reference refers to the Loan Market Association Green Loan Principles published on 21 March 2018.