Singapore's ARA Partners With South Korean Firm

Singapore’s ARA Partners With South Korean Firm To Buy London Office Bldg

UNITED KINGDOM – Singapore-based ARA Asset Management has teamed up with South Korea’s NH Investment & Securities to purchase Marble Arch Place, a mixed-use commercial project in London’s West End, for £280 million ($373.1 million), reported Mingtiandi on Friday evening (17 December, SGT).

Specifically, ARA’s South Korean subsidiary and its London-based affiliate ARA Dunedin have partnered with one of South Korea’s biggest investment banks for the acquisition.

The newly constructed 7-storey development spans 141,854 sq ft. It contains 46,105 sq ft of shops in the first 3 levels (including a below ground level) and 95,749 sq ft of office space on the upper floors.

Apart from obtaining an Excellent rating under the UK’s BREEAM code for eco-friendly buildings, the project’s office space is 88 percent occupied by private equity firm Bridgepoint for a term of 15 years.

Designed by renowned architect Rafael Viñoly, Marble Arch Place is located along 55 Bryanston Street in one of the city’s most exclusive and desirable neighbourhoods.

“The asset sits at the forefront of several of London’s most carefully curated districts: Mayfair, Hyde Park and the Connaught Village, with full views of Hyde Park from the second floor up,” said ARA’s CEO for South Korea Anthony Kang.

He noted that they acquired the commercial property at investment yield of more than 4 percent
The office rents in the area are very high in this location, and newly built office spaces are rarely available.

“This area is highly sought after for global private equity (PE) and finance firms and new supply is limited. (It directly overlooks) the Marble Arch itself and is within 2 minutes from the Marble Arch station.”

And thanks to the presence of multinational corporations, the office market of West End fared better during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When COVID-19 hit, the overall occupancy in London was hit, but West End was least affected. The overall city saw office vacancy rise close to 10 percent, but in the West End remained more resilient with a vacancy rate of 6 percent.”

Notably, average office rents in West End stands at £81.45 psf per annum for Grade A workspace, with the best offices being rented out for £136.50 psf per annum in October 2021.

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