A regional developer from western China this week staked out a bigger place for itself in one of the world’s biggest real estate markets with the £1.15 billion ($1.42 billion) of London’s “cheesegrater” office tower.
Chongqing-based CC Land has agreed to buy the 610,000 square foot (57,000 square metre) Leadenhall Building – as the property is formally called – from British Land and Oxford Properties, according to a joint statement today from the UK developer and the global real estate arm of OMERS – the pension plan for Ontario’s municipal employees.
The acquisition is CC Land’s second major purchase of a London property this year, as Asian investors remain confident in the UK real estate market post-Brexit.
Tallest Building in London’s Financial District is Now Chinese
The acquisition gives CC Land 100 percent ownership of the City of London’s tallest tower, and one of its most prized. Completed less than three years ago, the 46-storey Leadenhall is fully occupied, and has achieved record rents of more than £100 per square foot per year, according to a statement from the two sellers.
British Land and Oxford Properties began jointly developing the project in 2010, with each company owning a 50 percent stake in the 736 foot tall prime office property. The tower gets its “cheesegrater” nickname from its sloping shape designed by architect Graham Stirk of Rogers Stirk Harbour+Partners.
“This sale shows continued investor appetite for best in class, well located property in London,” Tim Roberts, Head of Offices and Residential for British Land said in a statement.
The sale is subject to approval by the shareholders of CC Land, with Cheung Chung Kiu, chairman of the Hong Kong-listed developer being the sole shareholder of two companies which together hold approximately 50.4 percent of CC Land’s shares.
The Chinese developer has already made a payment of £287.5 million to the sellers’ legal team, with £40 million paid as a non-refundable deposit. British Land and Oxford Properties were advised by Cushman & Wakefield, Eastdil Secured, Mayer Brown and Herbert Smith Freehills.
Two London Buildings in 30 Days for CC Land
For CC Land, which is based in the western Chinese metropolis of Chongqing, the Leadenhall deal is the company’s second London acquisition to be announced within 30 days.
At the end of January, Cheung’s company acquired a nine-storey Grade-A office building at 1 Kingdom Street, on London’s West End for £290 million as its first overseas investment ever.
While many western investors remain cautious about UK assets in the wake of last year’s Brexit vote, Asian buyers have continued to snatch up London properties.
Also in January, Hong Kong’s Emperor International Holdings agreed to pay real estate investment firm Peterson Group £260 million for the Ampersand Building in London, and Singapore’s GIC closed out 2016 by snatching up a 50 percent stake in a new shopping mall in the UK for 48.5 million pounds ($60 million).