Since its inception Greycoat has specialised in high quality prime central London office schemes.
Greycoat was founded in 1976 and obtained a public listing in 1978. The next twelve years were typified by phenomenal growth as Greycoat PLC acquired a significant reputation as a developer of large, technically advanced office buildings in both central London and the United States together with retail schemes in the UK provinces.
Early developments like Cutlers Gardens, EC2, Shortlands in Hammersmith and 250 Euston Road, NW1 were undertaken with institutions who provided the financial resources and retained a substantial part of the equity. As the company grew, schemes were undertaken in joint ventures where a much larger proportion of the equity was retained – Victoria Plaza, SW1 and the three phases of Finsbury Avenue in the City fall into this category. In the latter part of the 80's schemes were undertaken solely by Greycoat where all the equity was retained. Embankment Place, WC2, 123/151 Buckingham Palace Road, SW1 and Britannic House, 1 Finsbury Circus, EC2 were such schemes.
In 1983 an office was opened in New York and in 1984 a City of London office complimented the Mayfair headquarters. Both made significant contributions to the development programme and asset growth. During this period Greycoat made substantial corporate acquisitions, City Offices PLC, Law Land PLC and Churchbury Estates PLC, which provided property development and investment stock.
From 1990 to 1993 there was a market recession and Greycoat focused on survival. Greycoat had however stopped its development programme and had no development exposure having completed and successfully let its major development schemes by the end of 1990.
Following the recession of the early 1990s Greycoat consolidated and rebuilt the company. In essence the focus remained on prime central London offices where five sites (7 Bishopsgate, EC2, 1 Great St Helen's, EC3, 99 Gresham Street, EC2, Bolton Street, W1 and Equitable House, EC3) were bought for cash and developed into the 1997/1999 cyclical upturn. Non-core properties were sold and the investment portfolio reshaped by the sale of its two largest properties, Embankment Place and Buckingham Palace Road. In addition, 20, 30 and 80 Cannon Street, EC4 were all bought as part of the programme of acquiring investments in the core areas of Central London where value could be added.
In 1998 Greycoat ventured into a different type of "development" acquiring, with partners Merrill Lynch and Hermes, the half-let former NatWest Tower in the City – successfully transforming the complex into "Tower 42" a flexi-let office village. In addition to transforming the tower building, Greycoat was the developer for the 20 and 30 Old Broad Street developments which form part of the Tower 42 estate.
In 1999 the executive directors of Greycoat successfully completed a management buy out of Greycoat PLC financed by Merrill Lynch. The MBO assumed a five year business plan based around the existing £550 million property portfolio incorporating an element of new Central London business. The last major development commenced by Greycoat in this phase was the imposing Moor House development in London Wall which was completed in October 2004. In 2003 the Executive Directors acquired the company from Merrill Lynch.
In 2006 Greycoat established a new Central London Office Development fund with investors, affiliates of Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, Scottish Widows, ING and MN Services. Approx £130m of equity was raised and invested during 2006 in three sites – 101 New Cavendish Street, W1, Tower House, Trinity Square, EC3 and 30 Crown Place, EC2.
In 2009 Greycoat Real Estate LLP was formed and currently asset manages Devonshire Square, Tower 42 and Crown Place in the City of London and 101 New Cavendish Street in the West End. In 2010 it agreed to act as Development Manager for the Duchy of Lancaster in the refurbishment of Wellington House in the Strand.