UPDATE 1-B.Land, Blackstone up stakes in London offices

LONDON, Nov 12 (Reuters) - British Land, one of London's biggest landlords, has upped its bet on the prospects of the Square Mile after unveiling a 35 million pounds ($57 million) redevelopment of offices occupied by the Royal Bank of Scotland. Together with joint venture partner Blackstone Group, the FTSE 100-listed company said it was seeking consent for a major refurbishment of 199 Bishopsgate, due by late 2012. The 142,000-square-foot project -- located opposite the Broadgate Estate's newest buildings, 201 Bishopsgate and The Broadgate Tower -- is expected to start in summer 2011. The decision follows the recent agreement to develop 5 Broadgate, a new 700,000-square-foot building for occupation by UBS. Last month, British Land teamed up with Canada's OMERS to develop the 340-million-pounds, 610,000-square-foot Leadenhall Building nearby. Nearest rivals Land Securities and Hammerson are heading back to the construction site with similar conviction, stirring fears the rush of speculative building may spawn a future depression in London office rents. British Land shares slipped 1.8 percent to 499 pence by 0823 GMT, lagging a 1.2 percent fall in broader property stocks. . The majority of 199 Bishopsgate was originally let to ABN AMRO and is now occupied by state-backed bank RBS following its government bailout in 2007. RBS has agreed to extend its lease, which expired in August 2010, until March 2011 providing the joint venture with income whilst it progresses its plan for refurbishment. It is unclear whether the bank will remain in the property after its refurbishment, but British Land's Head of Offices, Tim Roberts, said the project would be delivered into a market "at a time where supply is expected to be severely limited." (Reporting by Sinead Cruise; Editing by Andrew Macdonald) ($1=.6192 Pound) (See www.reutersrealestate.com for the global service for real estate professionals from Reuters) Keywords: BRITISHLAND BISHOPSGATE/ (sinead.cruise@thomsonreuters.com; +44 (0)207 542 5154; Reuters Messaging: sinead.cruise.reuters.com@reuters.net) COPYRIGHT Copyright Thomson Reuters 2010. All rights reserved.

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