King's Cross must feel like the countryside to City agent Tony Gibbon. But last week's hiring of the pugnacious BH2 partner on a no-deal no-fee basis by the developers of the 67-acre site makes some sense. For the King's Cross Central Partnership mainstays, Hermes and Argent, have a dilemma.
The Partnership has already spent circa £50m prepping the whole site. They are unkeen to take on all the upfront risk development risk of this 400 000 sq ft block, even though Sainsbury's are very keen to take 300 000 sq ft for a new headquarters. The problem is that Sainsbury's is not keen to fully commit until they can see a way out of the lease on their Holborn HQ. That does not expire until 2013.
King's Cross Central CGI
So, is there anyone out there keen to forward fund the offices - and how can it be done? Gibbon failed to impress when he pitched for the King's Cross letting. But he has worked for Argent before and impressed them with his world-wide contacts and an ability to stitch together some very tricky deals. So, why not give him a go at coming up with some fresh funding ideas for King's Cross?
That said, the clock is ticking for Gibbon. Investors are just starting to become more risk-tolerant of development and more optimistic about end values. So the prospect of another bright spark simply wandering through Argent's door in Piccadilly grows as the economy brightens. But this is a tough one: come on Tony, you can do it.