MGPA and Générale Continentale Investissements pre-let the Balthazar Building (FR)

MGPA, the private equity real estate investment advisory company and Générale Continentale Investissements (GCI), the Paris-based Investor/Developer, announced that they have pre-let the whole Balthazar building to France Telecom/Orange. Orange is the key brand of France Telecom, one of the world's leading telecommunications operators.

The Balthazar building in Saint Denis, Paris.

The Balthazar building in Saint Denis, Paris.

The Balthazar development, situated on the Place des Droits de l'Homme in the Saint Denis business district north of Paris, was purchased in partnership by MGPA, on behalf of MGPA Europe Fund II, and Générale Continentale Investissements (GCI) in December 2006 from developer Dixence/Sogelym Steiner.

Designed by renowned US architect Richard Meier and handled by Atelier 234 Architects, the Balthazar development was selected due to its high quality design, flexible layout and excellent location in the heart of the Saint-Denis business district, allowing MGPA and GCI to target the increasing number of businesses looking to move to this area.

Upon completion, the building will be a 32,639 m² grade-A office building consisting of two independent seven-floor wings linked by an atrium, 430 internal parking spaces, along with a brasserie and a small retail component. The building is situated next to the RER B station providing excellent public transport links, and has great accessibility being located one kilometre north of the Paris ring road. The building has been developed in line with the latest standards and specifications, including large floor plates, raised floors, suspended ceilings with heights of 2.70 meters, air conditioning and HQE certification 'Haute Qualité Environnementale', the French standard for high quality environmental properties.

Olivier Vellay, Head of Acquisitions, France at MGPA, commented: "The Saint Denis office market has been evolving over the past few years into an established business district, with a sustained strong demand for Grade A office space from large and international corporations from a wide range of industries in the area. We are delighted that France Telecom/Orange will be taking on the lease and look forward to making further investments in the region in the future."

Sharon Raingold, Managing Director of Générale Continentale Investissements (GCI), said: "We are delighted to have pre-let the whole building to France Telecom/Orange and on such a long-term lease. This transaction confirms our strong belief in the present and in the future of the Saint Denis market. We have already been successful with the Stadium office building of 25,000 m² and we look forward to exploring new opportunities in Saint Denis."

Bruno Amsellem, head of Key Client Agency team at Jones Lang LaSalle, confirmed this to be the second largest office letting in Saint Denis over the past 10 years and the largest over the past three years in the north of Paris. It was among the six most significant relocations in Ile de France in 2008. The tendency for big corporations to privilege building performance has again been confirmed. In 2008, 100% of lettings of over 30,000 m² were in new buildings.

MGPA and Géné

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