China Vanke may now own its first office building in the UK after reportedly agreeing to buy Ryder Court in London’s posh West End from Henderson Global Investors for £115 million ($154 million).
Situated in London’s Mayfair district near landmarks such as Buckingham Palace and Piccadilly Circus, the office complex boasts a gross floor area of more than 70,000 square feet (6,500 square metres). Organizational and people advisory firm Whitehead Mann, a subsidiary of Korn/Ferry International, is the building’s primary tenant.
This complex has now been sold twice in the past three years. Henderson purchased the institutional grade office building from LaSalle Investment Management for £82 million ($109.9 million) in November of 2013.
Vanke’s purchase marks the second time a Chinese firm has completed a major office transaction in London this week. The Wall Street Journal reported China Minsheng Investment’s Hong Kong-based subsidiary SRE Group purchased Société Générale’s central London headquarters for £84.5 million ($113.3 million).
Henderson’s Need for Liquidity Leads to Vanke Deal
Ryder Court is one of a number of assets in Henderson’s UK Property PAIF and Feeder Fund either sold or put up for sale since July. All trading of the fund was suspended in July during the Brexit frenzy due to exceptional liquidity pressures, the Wall Street Journal reported. The fund has yet to resume trading.
In August, Henderson, which manages the fund through TH Real Estate, announced that it had sold a number of UK assets in its bid to increase the fund’s liquidity. These included a retail property in Manchester, another retail unit in London and an office complex in Bath.
The London-based global management company is also planning to sell off the 440 Strand office development currently leased to private banking and wealth management specialists Coutts.
A Second London Project for Vanke
The Ryder Court transaction is the Shenzhen-based developer’s second investment in London. Vanke spent £30 million ($46.4 million) to acquire a stake of just over 20 percent in a London mixed-use project in 2015.
The £750 million ($1.16 billion) The Stage project in London’s Shoreditch area includes a 40-story residential tower as well as office and retail space that is built around the remains of Shakespeare’s Curtain Theatre. The developer has partnered with Cain Hoy Enterprises, McCourt Global, Galliard Homes and Investec Structured Property Finance on the project which is slated to open in 2019.
It was expected that Vanke would be more active in the London market when it appointed former UBS executive Lily Lin as UK managing director in October of last year.