Monday 20 November 2017

Green agrees €105m deal for London site

One Nine Elms, an artist's impression shows the 45 and 85 story towers, London's tallest residential towers
One Nine Elms, an artist's impression shows the 45 and 85 story towers, London's tallest residential towers

Donal Buckley

Stephen Vernon's Green Property has agreed to sell a London development property, One Nine Elms, to Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group for around £90m (€105m).

AIB, which sold the property to Green in 2008 as part of a £650m portfolio, is also expected to benefit from the sale due to a carried interest from the 2008 deal.

AIB did the 2008 deal with Green soon after it took control of the portfolio from Achilleas Kallakis and Alex Williams, who had orchestrated an elaborate €920m fraud for which they received prison sentences.

Earlier this year the British appeal court increased their sentences to 11 and eight years, respectively, after finding their initial jail terms were too lenient.

The pair used fake documentation to secure loans mainly from AIB and Bank of Scotland over a five-year period.

At the core of the fraud had been the use of fake guarantees from a reputable Hong Kong property firm which were used to take out the loans from AIB at the peak of the boom.

Green Property declined to comment on reports that AIB will receive 30pc of an uplift in the value of the portfolio, but the property firm said the One Nine Elms deal has proven "very valuable to AIB as 2008 represented the trough of the central London market where much of the portfolio is based".

The One Nine Elms site had contained an obsolete 1970s office building when Green acquired it, and the firm then secured planning permission from the London Borough of Wandsworth for a mixed-use development which will comprise 1.13 million sq ft of prime residential, office and retail space within two towers of 45 and 60 storeys.

On completion, the value of the development is expected to be in excess of £700m and accommodate London's tallest residential building, one which is also taller than the London Eye and the Gherkin building.

Green Property also added value to another AIB portfolio property before selling it for £78m (€92m). To enhance the investment potential of this property, Lunar and Apollo House in Croydon, Green secured 13-year leases with the UK Government.

In 2012, Green also commenced the development of 8 St James's Square, a prime central London site which will be developed into a 65,000 sq ft premium-grade office building due for completion in March 2014.

Wanda will locate a five-star hotel in the One Nine Elms development, marking the firm's first overseas luxury hotel as well as the first luxury hotel opened by a Chinese firm outside China. CBRE advised Green Property on the sale.

Green chairman Stephen Vernon said Wanda will now lead the development, bringing it in to its next and final stage.

"We played a central role in the transformation of an obsolete 1970s office building into a fully approved, mixed-use tower complex," added Pat Gunne, Green's managing director.

Irish Independent

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