Morgan Stanley to Buy Helsinki Mall for $592M

Advised by Cushman & Wakefield, Wereldhave will sell Itis, a 1.1 million-square-foot property counted as one of the largest shopping centers in the Nordics.
Itis, Helsinki
Itis, Helsinki (Image courtesy of Cushman & Wakefield)

Cushman & Wakefield has recently counseled the Netherlands-based Wereldhave on an agreement to trade one of the largest shopping centers in the Nordics. The company will sell Itis, an approximately 1.1 million-square-foot property located in Helsinki, to New York’s Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing for €516m, or roughly $591.5 million.

“This sale is one of the largest single retail asset sales to take place in Europe this year and demonstrates the healthy investor appetite for fundamentally strong dominant shopping centers,” Michael Rodda, international partner & head of EMEA Retail Capital Markets at Cushman & Wakefield, said in a prepared statement.

Itis, Helsinki interior
Itis, Helsinki (Image courtesy of Wereldhave)

Itis welcomed its first shoppers in 1984 and between 2011 and 2014, underwent roughly $126 million in renovations. Today the covered, five-story mall is home to more than 150 retailers, with Stockmann department store, two supermarkets, and fashion stores Zara and H&M serving as anchors. In addition to its coveted retail offerings, Itis features an approximately 107,600-square-foot office segment, 10,200 square feet of which flexible workspace provider Regus leased in 2017.

The Itis transaction is on track to close in December 2018.

Helsinki rising

Helsinki is moving up in the commercial real estate rankings. According to Cushman & Wakefield’s new 2018-2019 global report on growth cities, “Alongside Hong Kong, the biggest winners among gateway cities for cross-border buyers were Paris and Tokyo; but a number of smaller European cities also rose strongly in the rankings, such as Helsinki, Vienna and Madrid.” The firm named Helsinki as one of the top 10 cities for cross-border investors, and brisk sales activity year-to-date appears to support claims of the city’s status as a magnet for foreign buyers.

In the month of June alone, Goldman Sachs and Cromwell Property Group acquired a 27-property office, industrial and land portfolio in metropolitan Helsinki for approximately $124.3 million, and Sweden-based Castellum announced plans to purchase the 155,200-square-foot Salmisaarenaukio 1 office building, for $92.8 million.