Fabrix i2 Fund acquires 170,000 sq ft warehouse in Bow

Investment manager and developer Fabrix has acquired 23-24 Gillender Street in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, and appointed internationally renowned architects MVRDV to collaborate in transforming the part-Grade-II listed Victorian and part-1930s modernist warehouse. 

The 170,000 sq ft site sits in the Limehouse Cut Conservation Area on the River Lea, strategically placed for access to the City, Canary Wharf and Olympic Park, as well as acting as a gateway to the Lower Lea Valley and Bow. The building is arranged over four storeys with generous floor-to-ceiling heights of five meters, making the building highly flexible for a range of uses, including stacked logistics and laboratories. 

Plans to transform the site – formerly used as a gin distillery, jam factory and a storage facility for fine wines – will represent MVRDV’s first major project in the capital, following the Marble Arch Hill installation on Oxford Street, and the second with Fabrix, who appointed the Dutch firm to its six-acre Atelier Gardens project in Berlin in 2019. 

Clive Nichol, Chief Executive Officer at Fabrix, says: “Gillender Street is an opportunity to transform one of London’s great warehouses in a part of Tower Hamlets which is undergoing major change. At Fabrix we see immense value in retaining and working with historic buildings like these, both for local communities and cities at large. Working with world-class architects MVRDV, we will revitalise the riverside site to develop a scheme rooted in sustainability and community, making a lasting contribution to the future of this part of East London and addressing some of the challenges our cities face.” 

Jacob van Rijs, co-founder of MVRDV, says: “Having partnered with Fabrix for some time in Berlin, we’re excited to work with them now in London. They have shown us how sensitive they are as developers to the character of a place – but also that they are open to new, unexpected ideas that add more layers to that character in tandem with the existing community. We can’t wait to bring such ideas to East London.” 

The closed-ended Fabrix i2 fund, which launched in 2017, acquires and refurbishes underutilised workspace properties in London. It is currently on course to deliver a 16 per cent internal rate of return on a seven-year average hold period.  

Levy Real Estate represented Fabrix on the acquisition. 

Managing Partner Simon Higgins comments: “It was a pleasure to work with Fabrix in securing this phenomenal building. Opportunities like this in London are few and far between and it will be exciting to see what the Fabrix team plan for the building given its historic qualities, prominence to the A12 and unique setting onto the River Lea.” 

In November 2020, Fabrix received unanimous planning approval for ‘Roots in the Sky’, the radical reimagining of the former Blackfriars Crown Court into a contemporary and sustainable next-gen office, commercial and community space. A 1.4 acre rooftop forest of over 100 established trees will provide extensive access for the local community and the public.