Ugly Brown Building Redevelopment

Client Challenges

BA Pension Fund bought ‘The Ugly Brown Building’ redevelopment site in 2015, with plans to provide new office accommodation and a hotel for one of the principal occupiers in the location, Ted Baker. The site had considerable potential for additional development that could ultimately involve delivery of over 500,000 sq ft and options needed to be explored, including the delivery of retail, business space and residential accommodation.

BA Pension Fund’s development partner, Reef Estates, wanted to explore the Life Sciences opportunities that may exist for the site, recognising that the location was relatively close to the new Francis Crick Institute and immediately adjoining St Pancras Hospital. Questions that came to the fore included who the occupiers might be within the sector, what sort of property might be required, what the viability of such development might be and how the planning application that would set parameters within which development can take place could best be progressed.

Our Solutions

We used our understanding of key Life Sciences stakeholders in the King’s Cross/St Pancras area to agree an engagement plan that could be progressed to help understand the nature of potential interest that may exist. We recommended that a phased approach to stakeholders and occupiers would enable the proposition to evolve in a natural way that could ultimately add most value – not just to the sector but also to the clients as developers/investors.


Reef Estates have been able to plan flexibility into their vision for the location and engage with potential end users of the property in a meaningful, creative fashion.  Through better understanding of the potential they have been able to assess value creation better and explore with the Local Authority options for use that may ultimately deliver something very valuable for all.