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The Crash and Rebound of Canary Wharf

Working paper #418
David L. A. Gordon

After its 1992 bankruptcy, Canary Wharf was politically controversial and widely regard-ed as a planning and development disaster. It failed as a result of six factors: a recession in the London property market; competition from the City of London; poor transport links; few British tenants; complicated finances; and developer overconfidence. Canary Wharf ’s original developer assembled a new consortium and took the project out of bankruptcy in 1995. Improved performance on the six factors led to a successful IPO in 1999. Ten pre-leased office buildings are under construction in 2002, which should complete the origi-nal project. Canary Wharf ’s 14 million square feet will be an impressive rebound from a spectacular crash. The project is now the central business district of the London Docklands and the third office node of Greater London.

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