SEGRO and Icade, one of France’s leading commercial developers, have signed preliminary agreements to acquire land to redevelop the Gobelins rail station, in the 13th district of Paris. The land purchase is a significant milestone in the Reprendre Racines (“Back to our Roots”) project, SEGRO and Icade’s development masterplan selected by French national rail company SNCF and City of Paris as part of the Reinventing Paris 2 competition.
The scheme, which is scheduled to complete by 2025, will deliver a mix of commercial uses above and below ground in a city where developable space is limited. On the land SEGRO will develop a 75,000 square metre underground logistics centre. It will include charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and delivery tricycles as well as recycling points and a bike repair centre. Icade will deliver two office buildings of around 14,000 square metres, providing workspaces to both local start-ups and more established companies. On the land there will be also dedicated sports facilities, including climbing facilities and basketball courts, urban greenhouses and a 1.3 hectare garden on the Olympiades esplanade.
Laurence Giard, General Manager for France, SEGRO, says of the land purchase, “This is a significant milestone as we advance a pioneering underground logistics scheme at Gobelins former railway station. The growth in e-commerce is driving demand for logistics space in major urban centres, where land for development is a scarce resource. The underground logistics hub proposed at Gobelins railway station is a new and innovative model for delivering logistics space at scale in one of Europe’s most densely populated cities, within a brand new world-class mixed-use destination.”
UK: LONDON OFFICE SELLS FOR £78 MILLION
International real estate firm Hines has exchanged contracts with Landsec on 7 Soho Square London for $99 million (£78 million). The sale to the Hines Pan-European Core Fund is expected to complete in mid-October. The sale price reflects a 4% yield. The West End property features 62,000 square feet of mostly office space, plus ancillary retail and other accommodation. It has excellent transport access. The building is fully let, by Trip Advisor and planning consultancy Barton Willmore. The retail element on the basement and ground floor is leased to Tesco.
Marcus Geddes, Head of Property, Landsec, says, “Soho Square has delivered strong returns during our ownership. This sale crystallizes value that the team has created and is in line with Landsec’s strategy of recycling capital into our development pipeline.” Peter Epping, Senior Managing Director at Hines and Fund Manager for HECF, says, “Soho Square is an iconic landmark and positioned directly opposite the new Tottenham Court Road Elizabeth Line station entrance, it’s one of the West End’s most sought after destinations.” Landsec was represented by Knight Frank LLP and CMS Legal. Hines was represented by JLL and Ashurst.
GERMANY: GERMAN OFFICE PORTFOLIO ACQUIRED
Curzon Capital Partners 5 LL, the perpetual core-plus fund has acquired a portfolio of seven office buildings in Germany. All units in the AEW City Office Germany fund are managed by Institutional Investment Partners. It was advised by pan-European investment manager Tristan Capital Partners. The portfolio covers 83,064 square metres across six prime office locations. It includes two facilities in Cologne and others in Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg and Dusseldorf. The tenants include government entities and well-known DAX listed companies and there are very low vacancy rates.
Constantin Plenge, Managing Director at Tristan Capital Partners, says, “Germany looks set to be one of the markets that recovers fastest from the coronavirus crisis, as the underlying fundamentals across the top six markets remain strong and unemployment is currently at around 4%. We believe that we will see sustained demand for high-quality office space in prime locations in Germany over the next few years and that the ongoing demand and supply imbalance will outweigh any short-term, incremental rise in vacancy in the immediate wake of the current crisis.” CCP 5 was advised by Barings, Clifford Chance, PwC, Witte, DeBI, CBRE and BNP. The vendor was advised by King & Spalding, Yester & Morrow, Colliers, JLL and Westbridge.
THE NETHERLANDS: STUDENT HOUSING COMPLEX PURCHASED
Munich-based investment manager Catella Real Estate AG (CREAG) has acquired The Bassin, a 159-apartment student housing complex in Maastricht. The purchase was made on behalf of the Sarasin Sustainable Properties – European Cities fund (SSP), an institutional fund jointly managed by CREAG and Bank J. Safra Sarasin with AuM over €500 million. Comprising two five-floor buildings, the complex is named after the Bassin, Maastricht’s historic inner harbour, where the property is located.
Formerly two office blocks, the renovated buildings with a total lettable area of 3,100 square metres, have been transformed into independent industrial-style studio apartments, each with a private kitchen, bathroom, for the start of the academic year in September 2020. The property has solar panels on the roof and a total of 48 above-ground parking spaces. Axel Bertram, Portfolio Manager at CREAG, says, “The latest acquisition in Maastricht, which has a severely constrained housing market, offers a great opportunity for future income and asset value growth.” The Bassin is within walking distance of Maastricht University’s economics, law, cultural and social sciences faculties and most of the university library facilities. Catella was advised by the law firm CMS.
UK: OFF-MARKET WAREHOUSE BOUGHT IN SHEFFIELD
InfraRed Capital Partners Limited has completed the off-market acquisition of a 151,000 square foot single distribution unit near Sheffield city centre for £13.3 million. The unit is let to Royal Mail Group Limited for eight years. The site is the largest and busiest Parcelforce depot in the UK, handling around 20,000 parcels per day. The purchase was made on behalf of the InfraRed Urban Logistics Income Fund (IULIF). It is the latest in a series of purchases for IULIF, which targets high-quality urban logistics assets within a 20-minute drive time of the UK’s top 10 city centres.
Growing demand for logistics
The fund is seeking to capitalise on the growing demand for urban logistics assets in city fringe locations. This is anticipated to grow as e-commerce and urban decentralisation activities continue to expand. Dean Harrison, Investment Director at InfraRed Capital Partners, says, “We will look to expand our urban logistic holdings in the UK and Western Europe throughout 2020 and beyond with substantial capital available for deployment.” Commercial Property Partners, Taylor Wessing and Malcolm Hollis acted for InfraRed.