West Ham co-owner David Sullivan’s business Conegate has sold Wingate House, in Soho, to the real estate arm of private equity firm BC Partners and its operating partner Seaforth Land.
Located on Shaftesbury Avenue, the 70,000 sq ft mixed use building was put on up for sale with Savills in May with an £81m price tag, reflecting a 3.8% net initial yield. It is also safeguarded for the potential Crossrail 2 infrastructure project.
BC Partners Real Estate is understood to have paid substantially below the asking price for the property, which has a Curzon Cinema at the bottom.
The acquisition is BC Partners Real Estate’s first property acquisition for its pan-European real estate fund, which is reportedly seeking to raise around €700m (£600m).
BC Partners Real Estate will work with its operating partner Seaforth Land, which is also delivering a revamp of CAA House in Holborn, to refurbish and reposition Wingate House.
Charles Tutt, principal at BC Partners Real Estate, said the company decided to acquire the property due to its location in London and the mix of income from the cinema and Bank of China, as well as the opportunity to add value through the refurbishment of what is a “bit of an unloved” building.
Tutt added: “Soho is known as one of London’s most dynamic, creative communities, and Wingate House forms an essential part of the architectural heritage and cultural fabric of the area. This is a unique opportunity to demonstrate our vision of crafting modern, creative, spaces in London’s most vibrant neighbourhoods.”
Tyler Goodwin, chief executive at Seaforth Land, said: “Wingate House’s history in Soho, potential for redevelopment, and appeal to occupational tenants means it is exactly the kind of building that Seaforth Land seeks to redevelop.”
He added that the refurbishment would take a more “conservationist approach” to the building.
Stéphane Theuriau, partner and head of BC Partners Real Estate, said: “Office space in prime central London locations continues to be highly sought after – but supply remains restricted. We are excited to have made our first investment in London and to put our strategy into action to develop design-led, customer-centric workspaces in defensive central locations.”
BC Partners Real Estate was launched in May 2018 to identify pan-European investment opportunities across real estate sectors, and to complement BC Partners’ existing private equity and private credit business.
Tutt said the firm would be looking to add more London property to its portfolio, as well as real estate in other gateway cities across Europe.
In August, Blackstone Alternative Asset Management acquired a passive minority investment in the firm via its strategic capital group.
BC Partners said at the time that the investment would enable it to further invest in its business, and expand its capabilities in line with the needs of the firm’s investors.
Pilcher Hershman represented BC Partners and Seaforth Land.