NorthStar, CRL to Buy $390M London Office Asset

The eight-story trophy building located midway between Saint Paul’s Cathedral and Bank of England marks China Resources Land’s first real estate investment in Europe.

A joint venture between office REIT NorthStar Realty Europe Corp. and property developer China Resources Land (CRL) is buying 20 Gresham St., a trophy office building located in the heart of London. AXA Investment Managers is selling the property for roughly £300 million ($390 million). This marks CRL’s first foray into European real estate. NorthStar is investing approximately $34 million in preferred equity for the transaction. Cushman & Wakefield was hired to assist AXA with the sale back in February. Daniel Norris and Derek Meilman of international law firm Hogan Lovells advised on the joint venture and acquisition.

Located at the corner of Gresham and Milk streets, midway between Saint Paul’s Cathedral and the Bank of England, 20 Gresham St. encompasses 242,807 square feet of office space across seven of the building’s eight floors. The building is situated just north of the Thames, within a 10-minute walk of several important subway and train stations, including Bank and Cannon Street.

Completed in 2008, the building was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, an international architecture firm behind many high-profile projects including New York’s Hudson Yards and 5 Times Square, 101 Federal St. in Boston, the Minneapolis Lincoln Center and 191 N. Wacker Drive in Chicago.

“Twenty Gresham St. is a highly desirable building with a prime location in London, and we feel confident there is significant opportunity to add value and drive strong returns through a number of pro-active initiatives,” said Mahbod Nia, CEO of NorthStar Realty Europe, in prepared remarks.

The building is fully leased, with a tenant roster including financial services companies Sacker & Partners, TLT, ICBC Standard Bank and TSB Bank. According to NorthStar, current average rents at the property are well below market rents for similar office properties in the area.

Images courtesy of Cushman & Wakefield