The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has simultaneously sold its landmark headquarters opposite Lambeth Palace in London to former Ballymore director Tim Farrow’s Real Estate Resolution and bought a new office Admiral House in Wapping from News International/
The move forms part of a rationalisation of the 170-year-old body. The professional body for pharmacists and pharmacy in England, Scotland and Wales, which was founded in 1841, instructed Capita Symonds to sell two freehold properties in central London including 1 Lambeth High Street, its home since the 1970s. The main headquarters of the Society and an ancillary office at 111 Lambeth Road, SE1, are located immediately opposite Lambeth Palace and between them comprise 75,000 sq ft of accommodation. Following a process of business rationalisation over the last two years, the properties were too big for the Society and the conference facilities provided at the main site are no longer required. Capita Symonds was separately retained to identify a new headquarters for the Society of around 15,000 to 20,000 sq ft in central London. Real Estate Resolution, the company set up by former Ballymore director Tim Farrow, is understood to have bought 1 Lambeth High Street for residential conversion. 1 Lambeth High Street, which was purpose built for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in the 1970s, sits on a 0.38-acre site and comprises 66,741 sq ft of offices. Separately, the Society has bought the 24,461 sq ft Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, E1 from Rupert Murdochs’ News International with vacant possession for its own occupation. Preapplication discussions with local planning officers explored the potential for conversion and redevelopment of the property for residentially-led mixed-use purposes. The building at 111 Lambeth Road is an 8,000 sq ft residential and office building close to the Society’s headquarters. September 2010 saw the biggest change in the organisation of the Society in its 170-year history. Before that the RPS was both regulator for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy premises and also responsible for the delivery of professional and leadership services. The separation of the duties in 2010 saw the creation of the RPS as the new membership and leadership body for Pharmacists with the regulatory function being provided by the newly formed General Pharmaceutical Council, (GPhC). RPS Treasurer and Chair of RPS Transition Board Sultan “Sid” Dajani, said: “I’m pleased to announce we have exchanged contracts on our new headquarters and also on our existing building in Lambeth. "For over two years, my colleagues and I have been conducting a review of our overall estates strategy. We have always made decisions with the interests of our members and the Society foremost in our minds. “We wanted to stay in London in premises which showcase our proud heritage but also positively reflect the status and spirit of our profession and our flagship role. "As sole occupants of the new building with lower running costs, we have also removed the risks and associated legal responsibilities of being a commercial landlord, as we are at present. “The move allows us to focus solely on being the representative Professional Leadership Body. Any capital released from our property review will be invested for the benefit of current and future members, building reserves and developing the Society rather than covering running costs. "As Treasurer of the RPS and the Chair overseeing our overall estates strategy, our key focus and concern has, is and always will be to ensure a sustainable, stronger future for our members and our profession." Martin Astbury, RPS President adds: “This decision puts the Society in full control of its own destiny with regard to our future accommodation needs. “The Society’s primary purpose is to support our members and ensure they can provide the best possible care to patients. We made a very positive decision which allows us to use the resources available to us in the best possible way for the profession. “I am personally very excited about this change which will align well with our investment strategy. A new building, our new RPS Faculty and the upcoming range of digital products from our publishing business means we are doing everything in our power to ensure the Society is best placed to serve the profession for the long term.” Paul Clark, divisional director at Capita Symonds, said: “These simultaneous transactions represent a significant achievement for the Society and we are pleased to continue to support the RPS during this time of change. Capita Symonds’ Project Managers have now been appointed to deliver the refurbishment of East Smithfield and will also help manage the move from Lambeth over the next 18 months.” Capita Symonds advised RPS; RER was advised by DE & J Levy; Gryphon Property advised News International.