Canary Wharf Group Investment Holdings, which is co-owned by Qatar Holdings, part of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and American investment group Brookfield, is the capital’s largest property owner, with almost 21.5m sq ft of space on its books, according to data from the research firm Datscha.
The government of Qatar also owns 1.8m sq ft, making the Middle Eastern country by far the most dominant force in London property. In contrast, Her Majesty owns just under 7.3m sq ft.
Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani, the former head of the QIA, said last year that Qatari investment into the UK to date amounted to £30bn, and that London was the preferred destination.
The QIA owns the site of the Chelsea Barracks, the Olympic Village and the Shard, along with Canary Wharf which contains some of the city’s largest buildings.
Using data from the Land Registry, Companies House and the Valuation Office, Datscha analysed the top 100 landowners in the capital, which showed that the City of London Corporation controls the second highest holding, at 17.4m sq ft, followed by Transport for London, at 14.9m sq ft.
Insurance firm Aviva and French bank BNP Paribas make up the rest of the top five property owners, with almost 9m sq ft and 7.5m sq ft respectively.
The government of Kuwait has also been particularly aggressive, according to Datscha’s figures, amassing 3.65m sq ft in a relatively short amount of time and putting it 16th on the list, above most of the London boroughs and the National Grid.
The top 100 also features three major retailers: Tesco is 19th, John Lewis and Waitrose are joint 54th, and Walmart, the US parent company of Asda, is 89th.