Billionaire owner of Camden Market in shock £44m purchase of Utopia Village in Primrose Hill

Utopia Village in Chalcot Road. Picture: Sharedesk

Utopia Village in Chalcot Road. Picture: Sharedesk - Credit: Archant

A business complex long under threat of being turned into luxury flats could now stay as offices after being bought by the billionaire owner of Camden’s markets.

Market Tech Holdings, of which Israeli entrepreneur Teddy Sagi is the largest shareholder, announced yesterday it had snapped up the Utopia Village site in Chalcot Road for £44m.

The company’s shock purchase sees Mr Sagi add to his already 11 acre empire of real estate in Camden, which includes all of Camden’s main markets.

The move comes after a lengthy planning row between the former owners of Utopia Village, Camden Council and many residents in Primrose Hill and the surrounding area.

In 2013, the council rejected a planning application to turn the site, home to 22 businesses, into 53 luxury flats.

A star-studded campaign opposing the development saw number of high-profile Primrose Hill residents complain the loss of businesses would be “devastating” for the high street.

Retail guru Mary Portas, playwright Alan Bennett and Baroness Joan Bakewell all signed a letter to “Save Utopia Village” saying office-to-home developments had led to businesses being replaced by “homogenous housing dormitories for city workers or absentee property investors”.

It was just last month their campaign looked defeated after an appeal by Utopia Village’s then-owners saw communities secretary Eric Pickles overturn the council’s rejection and give the green light for the project to go ahead.

In a new twist this week, however, it looks as if the site will not be turned into housing, but instead function as a business space linked to Camden’s main markets.

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In a release published yesterday, Market Tech said: “Market Tech Holdings Limited is pleased to announce that it has exchanged contracts to acquire a 0.84 acre property, hosting small businesses, for a total consideration of £44 million.

“The property, known as Utopia Village in Chalcot Road, is located close to the Group’s principal Camden Markets site and currently comprises 29 individual units totalling a net internal area of approximately 44,500 square feet.

“The property has development potential, however the Group plans to operate the complex primarily as a fully serviced co-working office environment where businesses can rent flexible accommodation with access to Market Tech’s e-commerce and business infrastructure, enabling the Group to accelerate its growth plans while benefiting Camden and the surrounding area.”

Charles Butler, Market Tech chief executive officer, added: “As with our recent transactions, we are establishing the foundations to support our strategy to reinvigorate Camden Market and its surrounding area - bringing the Markets to a wider global audience and creating an environment where bright new entrepreneurs can grow innovative businesses.

“The acquired site extends the Group’s estate and will be complementary to our offering as a full service solution provider for businesses, which when combined with similar facilities in Camden will in total create co-working space for in excess of 1,500 people. This is a key element of our strategy to create a world class living, working, retail and leisure destination.”