Derwent buys Moorfields Eye Hospital site

Charles Wheeldon
May 20, 2022

Property investment and development business Derwent London has exchanged a conditional contract to acquire the freehold of City Road Island in London, the site of the Moorfields Eye Hospital and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology.

The site is being sold by Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and UCL, together the Oriel joint initiative, for £239 million before costs. The deal is subject to receipt of final Treasury approval, which is expected in in the second half of the year. Completion is also conditional on delivery by Oriel of the new eye hospital at St Pancras and subsequent vacant possession of City Road Island which is anticipated in early 2027.

Derwent London has appointed architects AHMM alongside a full professional team and will undertake significant community engagement as part of its regeneration plans. The 2.5-acre site, with approximately 400,000 square feet of existing buildings, is located in the heart of the Tech Belt where the Derwent London has substantial holdings.

Paul Williams, chief executive of Derwent London, said: “We are delighted to have secured such an important central London regeneration opportunity in the heart of the Tech Belt, where we aim to deliver the next generation of distinctive long-life, loose-fit, low carbon commercial space.”

Martin Kuper, chief executive of Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust added: “This is an important step forward for our plans for Oriel, a new eye care, research and education centre. The sale of our City Road Island, which is conditional on Treasury approval of Oriel, is a key element of our funding strategy. All proceeds will be reinvested in the new centre to secure the long-term future of world-leading eye care, research and education in a way that represents value for money and benefits our patients. We will continue to maintain our strong links with Islington Council as plans for City Road Island progress.”

Professor Alan Thompson, dean of the UCL Faculty of Brain Sciences, commented: “This is a significant step towards realising the Oriel joint initiative. Oriel will bring together UCL’s formidable research base with Moorfields’ world-class healthcare delivery in one integrated centre of research, education and care.”

Robert Dufton, chief executive, Moorfields Eye Charity, said: “We’re very pleased to reach this significant milestone in achieving Oriel which helps to secure investment in the new world-leading centre for eye health integrating research, patient care and education in a state-of-the-art building and benefitting people on a global scale. Philanthropy has a critical role to play in realising Oriel. We’re very grateful to donors who have committed their support and to those interested in hearing more.”

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