Firm Owned By HK Politician

Firm Owned By HK Politician Buys London Office Bldg

UNITED KINGDOM – Manhattan Garments Group, which is controlled by former Hong Kong Liberal Party boss James Tien has acquired the 5 Fleet Place office building in the City of London for £191 million (US$250.6 million), reported Mingtiandi on Monday evening (4 April, SGT).

The 130,500 sq ft commercial property represents the 1st solo acquisition in London by the long-time Hong Kong political figure. Previously, Manhattan Garments Group bought Commerszbank’s HQ in the City of London in 2018 for £460 million (US$591.1 million) in a 50:50 joint venture (JV) with property developer Wing Tai Properties.

“5 Fleet Place is the type of high-quality investment we want to be making in London. The building has extremely strong credentials: its excellent base build, strong tenancy profile and longer-term reversionary potential make it a very attractive long-term investment for us,” said Tien.

The 5 Fleet Place office building was sold by Chinese state-owned developer Poly Global after 2 years of putting the commercial property on the market. The sale by China’s 4th largest property developer by contracted sales comes as mainland developers expedite their divestment of overseas properties, while Hong Kong investors ramped up their real estate acquisitions.

Originally, Poly Global had engaged Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) to market 5 Fleet Place in 2020, but the sales process was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 5 Fleet Place office building was constructed by British Land in 2007. Since then, it has been the HQ of law firm Charles Russell Speechlys. Its other major occupants include accounting company Wilson Wright and fintech giant PayPal. Poly Global had purchased the office tower from the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority for £145 million (US$208.6 million) in 2016.

The commercial property was relaunched for sale at the end of 2021, and it was bought at a time when London’s office sector is rebounding. Property consultancy CBRE reported that central London’s property market recovered in Q1 2022, recording £5.1 billion in investment volume, or the highest-ever figure for a first quarter.

The solid beginning to the year was supported by the return of Asia Pacific (APAC) investors who accounted for 45 percent of the overall property investment volume, up from 17 percent in Q1 2021, noted CBRE.

The £191 million sale of 5 Fleet Place translates to a net initial yield of roughly 4 percent, and Manhattan is forking out about £1,464 ($1,919) psf for the commercial property.

CBRE, JLL, Taylor Wessing, and EY Global advised the seller, while Allsop, Millennium Group, Mayer Brown, and Deloitte acted on behalf of the buyer.

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