Hong Kong in­vestor swoops for Ca­nary Wharf land­mark with £380m deal

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Rachel Mil­lard

A HONG KONG in­vestor has splashed out £380m to buy a land­mark of­fice in Ca­nary Wharf, in a ma­jor vote of con­fi­dence for the ail­ing com­mer­cial prop­erty mar­ket.

Link As­set Man­age­ment is snap­ping up The Cabot build­ing in its first in­vest­ment in the western hemi­sphere as it seeks to ex­pand be­yond China.

The deal was struck de­spite ma­jor un­cer­tainty over the fu­ture of of­fice work­ing, with mil­lions of staff still do­ing their jobs at home as the coro­n­avirus pan­demic rages on. The build­ing in 25 Cabot Square has 481,605 sq ft of of­fice space and is home to ma­jor ten­ants in­clud­ing Mor­gan Stan­ley and gov­ern­ment de­part­ments. It brings in an­nual rent of £18.83m.

Many banks are choos­ing to keep their Ca­nary Wharf staff at home un­til at least Septem­ber, rais­ing ques­tions over the fu­ture of of­fices.

In­sid­ers have said they are sur­prised at how suc­cess­ful re­mote work­ing has been, and Bar­clays chief ex­ec­u­tive Jes Sta­ley – whose head­quar­ters are also in Ca­nary Wharf – has said many firms are likely to look at whether they can per­ma­nently cut back on space.

Link is a real es­tate in­vest­ment trust listed in Hong Kong, where there were sim­i­lar fore­casts of the death of the of­fice dur­ing the 2003 Sars epi­demic. Th­ese did not come to pass.

Ge­orge Hong­choy, its chief ex­ec­u­tive, be­lieves The Cabot has long-term growth po­ten­tial.

He said: “It’s a prom­i­nent, Grade A build­ing and one of the few free­hold prop­er­ties in Ca­nary Wharf.” The £380m price tag was a 0.4pc dis­count on the July 17 val­u­a­tion of the build­ing by Col­liers In­ter­na­tional. Data from the es­tate agent Sav­ills sug­gests the com­mer­cial prop­erty mar­ket is com­ing back to life. In­vestors splashed out £1.3bn in the UK dur­ing June, a 42pc in­crease on the £755m spent in May.

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