Blackfriars residential tower 'still viable' despite Brexit
A scion of one of Malaysia's wealthiest real estate dynasties has said that plans to build one of the tallest residential towers in London will not be bulldozed by Brexit.
Abigail Tan, head of the St Giles Hotels Group, is to press ahead with a £800 million to £1 billion mixed use development in Blackfriars, despite rising costs linked to the collapse in the value of the pound.
She told the Press Association: "Our plans haven't been altered by Brexit, yet. Blackfriars is still viable and we're pushing ahead with it, although we're cautious of costs rising.
"We're still investing heavily in the UK and still have faith in the UK economy as a hub for business and finance."
St Giles, whose parent company is listed Malaysian firm IGB Corporation - headed by Ms Tan's father Robert Tan - is waiting for Southwark Council to rubber-stamp planning applications.
The Blackfriars development will consist of a hotel and what would be one of the tallest residential towers in London, along with commercial and retail space.
If Southwark approves the plans, the development could be up and running as soon as 2020.
However, Ms Tan also said the group might have to "get creative" if the pound continues its downward trajectory and costs soar.
"We don't really know about Brexit because the Government hasn't said anything about its plans. We might have to get creative if costs go up," she added.
But Brexit has provided a tonic for the St Giles' two London hotels, with the fall in sterling against the euro resulting in increased spending power for Europeans in London.
"We have seen Europeans spending more, especially in our bars, since the collapse in the value of the pound," Ms Tan said.
The London hotels, at Heathrow and central London, are turning over £17 million with gross profit of £10 million.
The group is also on the expansion trail.
There are currently nine hotels under the St Giles moniker, but Ms Tan wants 20 by 2020. With a site secured in Birmingham, the businesswoman is also looking at opportunities in Spain, Cuba and the US, where it already operates the Court and the Tuscany in New York.