Thursday 12 December 2019

Green to put £250m London properties on the market

Green Property is planning to sell this block at 8 St James’s Square
Green Property is planning to sell this block at 8 St James’s Square

Peter Flanagan

Green Property is set to sell off two London properties valued at as much as £250m (€322m).

The Stephen Vernon-led firm is preparing the properties at 7 and 8 St James's Square in Central London.

It is the third major property to be brought to the market by firms tied to Mr Vernon in recent weeks.

Green Property last month revealed plans to sell off the Blanchardstown Centre in Dublin which could net as much as €1bn. Green REIT - the separate listed property investor led by Mr Vernon and Pat Gunne - put a portfolio of properties known as Project Glas on the market with an asking price of €168m.

Green took over the St James's Square block in 2008. The property had previously been part of the portfolio of convicted fraudster Achilleas Kallakis.

That portfolio had been financed by AIB. Green acquired the property from AIB. The unit at 8 St James' Square hit the headlines last year when art dealing family Helly Nahmed Gallery Limited agreed to a record rent for London of £185 per square foot for the sixth floor of the office block.

Located in the heart of Mayfair, number 8's tenants include a number of family offices. Point 72 - the family office of hedge fund titan Stephan A Cohen - signed a rent of £147.50 per sq ft for the first floor of the property last October.

The property at 8 St James's Square totals 65,000 sq ft, and, according to Green, each floor has "exceptional" views over St James's Square as well as column-free space.

Next door at number 7, Green renovated a historic Lutyens-designed seven-bedroom mansion, adding a swimming pool, garden and staff quarters.

While the properties are not yet formally on the market, "Estates Gazette" reported they will heart the market in the coming days.

News of the planned sale came as Green revealed it had let the ground and lower ground floors of number 8 to The Clubhouse - a provider of business meeting spaces.

While Green's decision to sell a number of major properties has caused some disquiet in the Irish industry, Mr Vernon last week told the Sunday Independent that he was not calling the top of the market.

Referring to the sale of the Blanchardstown Centre, he said, "I'm 65-and-a-half. Jim McKenna [Green Property's operations director] is 72-and-a-half. We bought Blanchardstown in 1993. Blanchardstown needs new owners to take it to the next stage".

"All of the other major shopping centres now have institutional owners.

"We have taken Blanchardstown as far as we can," Mr Vernon added.

Sunday Independent

Also in Business