Blackstone Expands London Footprint

Blackstone continues boosting its core-plus strategy in London with its fourth investment.
Anthony Myers

Anthony Myers, Blackstone

Blackstone continues boosting its Core+ strategy in London, picking up a 95 percent stake in Times Square, London, EC4, a 380,000-square foot office building, from Land Securities Group Plc. for about $400 million.

The deal is expected to close in late July. Located at 160-162 Queen Victoria St., the building is fully leased to six tenants, including Bank of New York Mellon and the Dechert law firm until 2023, according to a joint press release.

Strutt & Parker represented Land Securities in the transaction while BNP Paribas advised Blackstone.

Land Securities, one of the United Kingdom’s largest commercial property companies, acquired its stake in the office building near Blackfriars Station in two tranches, a company spokesperson told Commercial Property Executive. It first acquired 44.5 percent from Louis Dreyfus Property Group in 2005 and added to its stake in 2007. Louis Dreyfus developed the building in 2003 with Sableknight.

“We’ve recently carried out some lease regearing activity at Times Square, and its sale reflects our strategy of recycling capital into our significant development program,” Colette O’Shea, managing director, London portfolio, at Land Securities, said in the news release.

A_Times Square LondonFor Blackstone, the New York-based private equity real estate giant, the purchase fits in with its ongoing investment strategy in London.

“This is our fourth investment in London as part of Blackstone Property Partners’ Core+ strategy, following the most recent acquisition of 125 Old Broad St.,” Anthony Myers, head of Real Estate Europe at Blackstone, stated in the release. “Times Square fits the Core+ strategy extremely well as a high quality, well-leased asset in the center of a global gateway city.”

Blackstone acquired 125 Old Broad St. in July from Brookfield Property Partners. The 330,000-square-foot commercial building’s tenants include DTZ, King & Spalding, Landmark and Renaissance Re, according to a Blackstone news release.

Back in the United States, Blackstone just announced it had agreed to buy the iconic 110-story Willis Tower in Chicago for $1.3 billion from Joseph Chetrit, Joseph Moinian and American Landmark Properties. The deal, which would be the largest in Chicago history, is expected to close within two to three months.

Blackstone has approximately $81 billion in investor capital under management in a portfolio that includes hotel, office, retail, industrial and residential properties throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and Latin America.