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Welput offloads £118m St James’s trophy

17th January 2022

Article by James Buckley

London-based investor seals deal for West End gem

What Welput has sold 20 St James’s Street to Ekistics for £118m

Why The BentallGreenOak-managed fund has added value by refurbishing the building and letting it at rents in the range of £105 to £120/sq ft

What next Welput will redeploythe proceeds of the sale into new opportunities and existing projects

Welput has sold a prime office development in St James’s following a spate of leasing activity at the building, React News can reveal.

The specialist central London fund managed by BentallGreenOak has completed a deal to sell 20 St James’s Street to funds advised by Ekistics Property Advisors for £118m, reflecting a net initial yield of 4.19% and a capital value of £2,098/sq ft.

London-based Ekistics Property Advisors manages Ekistics Real Estate Partners I, a pan-European, value-add real estate private equity fund, which has amassed a €500m property portfolio since its inception in 2010.

Welput purchased 20 St James’s Street in 2016 in line with its strategy of upgrading central London office buildings. Since then it has managed the building through the planning process and subsequent vacant possession, before carrying out a comprehensive refurbishment behind the façade in 2018.

The asset, which has secured lettings in the range of £105 to £120/sq ft, is let to tenants including investment management firm Exodus Point, Harrison Street and EIG Global.

Ker Gilchrist, managing director for Welput at BentallGreenOak said: “The sale of 20 St James’s Street marks the end of a successful business plan for the asset. A testament to the quality of our scheme is the fact that the remaining five vacant floors went under offer and signed during the lockdown period, at a time where activity elsewhere was relatively muted, and at rents that were in line with the pre-pandemic tone.

“St James’s continues to perform well, with financial occupiers particularly seeking the best buildings for their employees to work and collaborate in.

“We will now be redeploying the proceeds of the sale into new opportunities and existing Welput projects, where there is also scope to create market leading buildings which meet the demand of modern office occupiers and have the best ESG credentials.”

John Pedersen, managing partner for Ekistics Property Advisors, added: “20 St James Street, with its best-in-class ESG credentials, combined with its situation in one of London’s leading office submarkets represents the cornerstone of our longer-term strategic focus on market leading, office assets specifically focussed on the demands of modern office occupiers.”

Ekistics was advised by Macfarlanes and PwC. JLL and Norton Rose Fulbright acted for BentallGreenOak.