Hong Kong Tycoon Buys London Office Bldg For Over £130mil
UNITED KINGDOM – Hong Kong business mogul William Wai-hoi Doo has acquired an 11-storey commercial building in 68 King William Street in the City of London for more than £130 million ($175.3 million, reported Mingtiandi on Thursday afternoon (11 November, SGT).
Notably, Doo is the husband of Amy Cheng Sau Ha. He is also a member of the family behind New World Development, a real estate developer based in Hong Kong.
The vendor is a joint venture (JV) between London-based property group Black Mountain Partners and funds overseen by Ares Management, an investment manager listed in the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Real estate consultancy Savills represented the seller in the deal.
The acquisition of the asset, which previously housed the House of Fraser department store in London’s financial district, comes as the sellers recently finished renovating the mixed-use property.
After 2 years of refurbishment, the building now comes with 70,600 sq ft of office space as well as 30,000 sq ft of “lifestyle amenities”. These include a gym, a rooftop bar by Maven Leisure, and a restaurant by Corbin & King on the ground level.
In total, 68 King William Street offers 100,600 sq ft of commercial space, meaning Doo is forking out roughly £1,292.24 psf for the property. Originally, Ares and Black Mountain bought the 97,538 sq ft building in 2019 for £75 million, so the asset was divested with a markup of over 70 percent.
The purchase comes at a time when prime office transactions across the UK’s capital reached approximately £3.85 billion in Q3 2021 after the authorities relaxed travel restrictions across the country. Knight Frank said this figure marks a 23 percent growth in sales volume compared to the previous quarter.
Doo’s maiden entry into the UK’s commercial property market is part of a resurgence in Hong Kong-led London transactions. In September 2021, the Kuok family, which controls developer Kerry Properties, picked up an office tower in St James district for £145.5 million.
In February, Hong Kong-listed Wing Tai Properties partnered with Champion REIT, Macau casino operator Francis Lui and the brother of Hong Kong’s former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa, Tung Chee-chen, to buy an 11-storey property at 66 Shoe Lane for £258 million.