Generali Real Estate buys London office asset from Blackstone

Generali Real Estate buys London office asset from Blackstone
Times Square, an office building located in Queen Victoria Street.

Generali Real Estate has acquired Times Square, an office building located in Queen Victoria Street, in the heart of the City of London, from Blackstone Group. The purchase price was not disclosed.

The acquisition of Times Square has been completed on behalf of two pan-European funds managed by Generali Real Estate SGR: 50% by the “Generali Europe Income Holding” (GEIH) fund, dedicated to core offices, and 50% by “SC GF Pierre”, a fund dedicated to unitlinked policies of the French insurance company Generali Vie.

For the operation, Generali Real Estate SGR will obtain a loan from a pool of primary lending banks, for a financial leverage up to 50%.

The asset represents the first direct investment for Generali Real Estate in the London real estate market after the completion of the iconic ‘One Fen Court’ building in Fenchurch Street in the City, a very successful state-of-the-art development project completed in 2019 and housing the headquarters of a leading financial operator.

London will become one of the main markets for investments by Generali Real Estate in the next years, after some years of pause related to the evolution of the Brexit process and, more recently, the evolution of the Covid pandemic, the company said.

Times Square is an office building comprising 7 floors and 2 underground floors, with 35,000 sqm GLA, enriched by large terraces. It is currently under refurbishment, with completion expected at the end of 2022, and hosts the headquarters of BNY Mellon as the main tenant.

The building is located in 160 Queen Victoria Street, close to St. Paul’s Cathedral and the London Stock Exchange. Several important real estate development projects have been completed in recent years in the district, consolidating it as the main business hub in London, chosen by many global companies such as Amazon, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Bank of America, Mizuho and Hogan Lovells for their European headquarters.

The building is conveniently accessible through public transport, being in close distance to the Blackfriars and St. Paul metro stations, and to the new Elizabeth metro line, opening in 2022, providing easy connection to the Heathrow airport.

The asset is perfectly in line with Generali Real Estate’s commitment to sustainability, with a pre-certification BREEAM Very Good and high Health and Well Being standards, and is coherent with the ESG investment guidelines of the Group.

Aldo Mazzocco, Head of Private Markets and Real Assets in the business unit Generali Asset & Wealth Management, commented: “The acquisition of the Times Square building marks the come-back of Generali Real Estate on the London market. As part of our investments strategy in the most interesting and dynamic cities across continental Europe and beyond, we confirm our conviction about London as one of our main investment targets of our strategy.”