The billionaire baron recently implored city workers to return to their desks in a bid to “kick start” the local economy, which quite coincidentally could also boost the recovery of his private property group Amsprop
Apprentice star Alan Sugar has caused more ructions on social media after telling city workers to “get back to the offices” and proclaiming he would never hire people who had become “complacent” around the shift to remote and hybrid working seen during the pandemic.
Boris says it’s no longer necessary to work from home. So city people get back to the offices let’s kick start the local economy for shops,cafes who suffered badly. Some people may have become complacent liking this new style of working.Well those folk will never work for me.
— Lord Sugar (@Lord_Sugar) July 5, 2021
While the billionaire baron and founder of the now-defunct PC maker Amstrad seemingly made his plea on Twitter in an effort to “kick start” the office-adjacent economy such as the shops and cafes that in his words have “suffered badly” during the pandemic, Sugar has a strong ulterior motive.
If workers go back to their desks in the office it would help to shore up the value of City property, such as that owned by Sugar.
Aside from his reality show persona and former electronics business, the former chairman of football club also owns Amsprop, a real estate vehicle focused on what its website describes as “ultra-prime Central London and core City of London freehold properties”.
Buildings within Amsprop’s portfolio include several within the Square Mile, including The Crosspoint next to Liverpool Street station and 206-210 Bishopsgate across the street.
Many of Amsprop’s portfolio assets also include many cafés and bars as tenants, businesses that are likely to have been at the sharp end of the effects of the pandemic as lockdown restrictions and home working caused them to lose out on many office workers popping in before and after work and over lunch.
The real estate firm also seems to be holding a large amount of vacant office space in its prime properties in the City, with the Amsprop website currently offering over 9,100 square feet of office space to rent across three of its properties inside the Square Mile. Including properties outside the City, the firm is looking to fill around 31,300 square feet of vacant office space.
Sugar himself may be particularly keen to get office workers back into Amsprop properties and spending in its tenant establishments after the pandemic inflicted a sharp cut to his net worth.
In May, The Sunday Times Rich List 2021 revealed that Sugar’s net worth had declined by around £10mln from the same period a year ago to £1.2bn, demoting him 17 places on the list, after the lowering of values of commercial property in London during the pandemic caused his main investment vehicle, Amshold, to suffer a £1.1mln drop in the value of its net assets in the year ended June 2020.
Sugar is not the only one to see the value of their metropolitan property portfolio suffer during the pandemic, with FTSE 100 group PLC (), which owns Broadgate in the City and Canada Water in Canary Wharf, reporting a £1.05bn loss over the year to end-March 2021 as the value of its portfolio tumbled by over 10%.
Similarly, Group PLC (), which also owns large numbers of London office and retail properties, reported a £1.4bn loss in the same period following a £1.64bn property write-down.