This week, Managing Partner and real estate expert Richard Spector looks at the sale of a prime 20-storey commercial development, its audacious foreign buyers, and a market that is galvanised by overseas investment.
Dubai-based Wolfe Asset management has completed on a deal to buy 240 Blackfriars road, in a deal which is alleged to be worth £266.5 million.
The South Bank building was purchased from the Great Ropemaker Partnership (GRP), involving Great Portland Estates (GPE) and the BP pension fund.
The GRP said the price was slightly above September’s market value.
The commercial building is comprised of several major firms, including construction consultants Ramboll, events business UBM and travel guide Lonely Planet, and is estimated to attract rents of between £47 to £65 per square foot, or around £11.2 million per year.
The investment firm, owned by the UAE’s Al Gurg family, was also behind the purchase of The Peak office building in London’s Victoria for an estimated £145 million in November last year.
Abdulla Al Gurg, group general manager of Wolf Asset Management, said: “The 240 Blackfriars Road building is iconic in its design and an instantly-recognisable feature of the London skyline.
“It perfectly fits within our strategy of owning best-in-class commercial buildings in prominent London locations
“Southbank is regarded as one of London’s most vibrant districts and thriving sub-markets, with a unique combination of world-renowned arts and theatre institutions, hotels, luxury residential developments, excellent connectivity and prime real estate.”
Toby Courtauld, chief executive of GPE, said: “The sale of 240 Blackfriars Road is the culmination of an exceptional development project for GRP.
“Having secured an attractive planning permission in March 2011, GRP commenced development in January 2012 following the pre-letting of 105,825 sq ft to UBM. The sale continues our strategy of recycling capital out of assets where we have created value.”
London has enjoyed a spree of foreign investment in recent times, with take-up now surpassing a 10-year record. According to figures, take-up in Central London for the third quarter of 2017 was 3.4 million sq ft – an increase of three per cent on the previous quarter and around 10 per cent above the 10-year average.
During the same period, there were four deals over 100,000 sq ft, the largest of which was a 549,000 sq ft pre-let at 21 Moorfields, EC2, a development connected to the new Crossrail station. The remaining three deals all took place in the West End.
Likewise, Asian investors accounted for some 63 per cent of the city’s total turnover in the year to July, followed by European investors at 17 per cent, and UK investors at 11 per cent.
About Richard Spector: Managing Partner Richard specialises in property transactions and commercial litigation. Richard has acted in a number of high-profile cases and was heavily involved in the litigation that arose from the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Richard has been involved in a number of cross-border litigation cases and recently acted successfully for the Claimants in Harlequin Property (SVG) Ltd & Anr v Wilkins Kennedy, listed in the Lawyer’s top 20 cases of 2016.
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