AXA Real Estate Investment Managers announces that it has completed the acquisition of 20 Gresham Street, a 240,000-ft² (an approx. 22,300-m²) fully-let, high-quality office space, in the City of London on behalf of one of its clients.
The acquisition marks a strong start to the year for AXA Real Estate and continues the momentum established in 2010, during which AXA Real Estate advised funds completed over 2.7 billion of transactions across Europe on behalf of clients, comprising 1.1 billion of acquisitions and 1.6 billion in sales.
Over the course of 2010, AXA Real Estate was active across Europe with its principal areas of operation being France accounting for 47% of total transaction value, Switzerland, 16% of all deals, the UK, with around 15%, and Germany, with about 10%. Approximately 12% of the activity came from Italy, Benelux, Scandinavia, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands.
In 2011, AXA Real Estate believes its transactions will follow similar geographic trends, but with a higher total volume, and include a small number of sales and acquisitions on behalf of its clients in Central Europe. Increased volumes are expected to be driven by a combination of factors including a continued but gradual improvement in the European economic climate, further bank deleveraging and the appeal of property as a fixed asset producing stable income in an inflationary market.
Notable transactions in 2010 included the 8 million acquisition of Wilmersdorfer Strasse in Berlin, the acquisition of the Hilton Hotel next to the Davos congress center and the sale of the Casa Libera residential portfolio for 65 million, both in Switzerland, as well as the sale of a prime mixed-use asset in Paris CBD at a price of 12,000/m² to a private investor.
AXA Real Estate also completed the development acquisition of 60 Holborn Viaduct, a new 215,000-ft² (approx. 20,000-m²) grade-A office in the City of London which will be completed in Q2 2013; this is the first London acquisition to be made by Development Venture III, and follows an investment strategy which was launched in July 2010.
Anne Kavanagh, Global Head of AXA Real Estate Property Services Group commented: "The acquisition of 20 Gresham Street marks the continuation of the momentum we achieved in 2010. We are looking forward to a busy year ahead as we continue to leverage our pan-European platform and take advantage of what we expect to be a more liquid European real estate market. As a result, we expect to see an increased level of opportunities across the entire risk spectrum for AXA Real Estate to explore on behalf of its clients."