M1 Real Estate acquires Times Place in London (UK)

M1 Real Estate, a Monaco-based real estate investment and development company and affiliate of M1 Group, announced today that it has acquired the freehold of Times Place at 45 Pall Mall in London's West End.

Located in St James's, one of the premier office locations in London, M1's latest prime asset investment builds on the firm's existing portfolio of income-generating and development-oriented real estate assets in London, including properties in Cadogan Square, Cadogan Gardens, and Grosvenor Place.

Times Place, which covers a total area of approx. 5,570 m², was completed as a new development by City & West End Property Group in 1997, and meets the highest Grade A specifications. The south facing Pall Mall frontage is clad in Portland Stone and the property comprises nine floors with a roof terrace, as well as underground parking.

Times Place, which has a freehold tenure, will have this year an expected yield of more than 7.8% and is fully let to high quality tenants with 5A1 credit rated covenants.

M1 Real Estate CEO, Moustapha El-Solh, commented: "Although the London real estate market, like many cities around the world, is currently seeing one of its worst downturns, we believe that making investments in prime assets with strong fundamentals is a sound long term strategy. The current market situation means that Times Place represents good value now and, moreover, has the potential to deliver significant value over the long term. Opportunities to invest in properties such as Times Place are relatively rare and this is a clear fit with M1's long term strategy of building a global portfolio of prime assets in major cities around the world. We are actively seeking similar investment opportunities in all of our core target markets."

M1 Real Estate's strong financial position and its ability to finance the deal entirely with equity played to the firm's advantage in the highly competitive auction process, and the speed of its decision making enabled it to move quickly on Times Place.

Ziad Dagher, M1 Real Estate's Business Development and Acquisition Director, commented: "In such tough market conditions, a key element of M1's success is our commitment to exchanging contracts within ten business days. Our team of highly experienced consultants, and the fact that we are not restricted by the need to secure debt financing, gives us a strong competitive advantage in deals of this kind."

In addition to its UK assets, M1 Real Estate's international portfolio includes investments in the United States, Europe and the Middle East. As well as investing in income-yielding assets, M1 Real Estate also undertakes development and re-development projects globally which currently include The Argonaut building on 57th and Broadway in Manhattan, a seaside resort in Marmaris, Turkey, and several developments in Beirut's Central District.

M1 Real Estate was represented by Fineman Ross, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, and Barclays Wealth. The vendor, Legal and General, was represented by Jones Lang LaSalle and Eversheds. Philip Jeffcock, Real Estate Director at Barclays Wealth, added: "We introduced this opportunity to M1 and have been impressed by the speed at which they were able to put the deal together. We believe the current market distress offers overseas clients a unique opportunity to acquire prime freehold assets in London and we are currently working on a number of other similar transactions."

Source: Capital MS&L

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