Benson Elliot Capital Management
December 20, 2013 Benson Elliot concludes £60 million debt financing with Aalto Invest Benson Elliot, the UK-based private equity real estate fund manager, has signed a £60 million, 64% loan-to-value debt financing secured on a portfolio of Grade A regional offices in Manchester, Cambridge and Ealing (West London), with all funding provided by Aalto Invest.

The subject properties were acquired individually on an all-cash basis by Benson Elliot during 2013, and are subject to on-going capex and lease-up programmes. The debt financing is structured to enable drawdown of further funds as letting progresses. Since acquisition, Benson Elliot has let a further 10,000 square feet across the portfolio and secured planning consent to nearly triple the on-site car parking provision at Ealing Cross.

The provision of the financing by Aalto Invest, as sole funder, evidences the growing influence of specialist non-bank lenders in the UK debt financing market.

Marc Mogull, Managing Partner of Benson Elliot, commented “We are pleased to complete this financing with Aalto Invest. They provided us with a flexible financing proposal, customised to our business plan, and closed the transaction within five weeks of our first discussion.”

Mikko Syrjanen (Co-Managing Partner) of Aalto Invest commented “Benson Elliot is a major and highly regarded sponsor, which has assembled a good quality UK regional office portfolio and we are delighted to have the opportunity to work with them on this financing. We believe that the Aalto Invest senior debt financing platform offers borrowers a different financing approach and the prompt closing of this transaction demonstrates our execution capabilities”.

 

About Aalto Invest

Aalto Invest is an investment management firm which has a committed £700m UK and Northern European senior debt lending programme backed by European Pension funds. Its origination capability was strengthened in September 2013 by the appointment of Stephen Eighteen (ex RBS) as Head of Origination.

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December 12, 2013 Benson Elliot and Stanhope to kick start Station Hill development in Reading Benson Elliot and Stanhope secured Planning consent from Reading Borough Council last night, to start work clearing the £500m redevelopment site of Station Hill in Reading. The first elements of the phased scheme will commence in 2014.

A temporary public event space is expected to be delivered by the end of 2014 / early 2015, alongside new landscaping works undertaken by the Council and the demolition of the existing vacant retail buildings opposite Reading Station.

The outline scheme by Sackville Developments Reading Limited (SDRL), the joint venture between Benson Elliot and Stanhope, is for a mixed-use development of the five acre site, which will provide office space and a range of town centre uses including retail, leisure and residential. In addition, the scheme will allow for the creation of a new public realm, which will comprise a significant public square within the development.

The joint venture’s plans, designed by Allies & Morrison, propose a maximum of around 1,200,000 sq ft of development, principally offices but also 32,000 sq ft of shops, 9,000 sq ft of leisure and c.300 flats, of which a proportion will be affordable housing. In addition, the scheme expects to deliver family leisure facilities within the Friars Walk area, as well as a multi-use leisure facility on the top of the remodeled Garrard Street car park, which will include a five a side football pitch and running track.

Phil Irons, Partner at Benson Elliot, said:

“We are delighted to have secured consent for the redevelopment of this critical town centre site. This is an important milestone in the regeneration of an area that will ultimately be seen as the heart of Reading. We will be starting on site in 2014 and aim to deliver the first of the four office buildings by 2016.

“The Reading office market is supply constrained in terms of grade A space and we believe our scheme will meet the demand for prime, modern and well-located offices.”

Jason Margrave, Development Director at Stanhope plc, said:

“This is a massive step forward for the town centre with huge private investment to transform Station Hill into a new place to work, shop, live and enjoy. This builds on the significant investment already made in Reading Station. We intend to progress with the initial works to start clearing the site early in 2014 and hope to have the temporary public event space ready by the end of 2014 / early 2015, with a first phase office building following shortly thereafter.

“We have included an enlarged public open space in the heart of the scheme with new public realm and leisure facilities. The scheme provides a great opportunity to extend and enhance the retail core in line with the borough’s long term vision and it will also create significant new employment opportunities in Reading.”

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December 3, 2013 Benson Elliot to Redevelop Landmark Frankfurt High-Rise Benson Elliot, the UK-based private equity real estate fund manager, has acquired the Turmcenter (Eschersheimer Landstrasse 14) in Frankfurt’s central business district from Landesbank Baden-Württemberg.

The 23-storey office tower has been unoccupied since Ernst & Young vacated the building and refurbishment plans subsequently stalled. The acquisition includes an adjacent mixed-use complex featuring additional office space, a long-let supermarket and over 400 car parking spaces.

Following the completion of the transaction Benson Elliot plans to comprehensively re-develop the tower to deliver over 15,000 square metres of efficient, state-of-the-art, environmentally sustainable office space. The property will tap into the growing demand for first class office space from small and medium-sized tenants in central Frankfurt. Benson Elliot has engaged dk real estate, with whom Benson Elliot’s senior team worked a decade ago on the re-development of Munich’s famed Maximilianhöfe, to manage the re-design and re-construction of the tower.

Commenting on the acquisition, Joseph De Leo, Senior Partner of Benson Elliot, said:
“This is going to be an exciting project for Benson Elliot. With a smaller, but highly efficient floor plate, and a new façade design featuring floor-to-ceiling glazing, the new Turmcenter will be ideally equipped to meet the needs of mid-market companies looking for prestigious office space in the centre of Frankfurt. Benson Elliot’s local experience, operational capabilities and discretionary funding put the firm in a unique position to achieve LBBW’s objectives and, we believe, to return this landmark building to its traditional place on the Frankfurt skyline.”
NAI Apollo acted as adviser to Benson Elliot on the acquisition and redevelopment strategy.

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December 3, 2013 Benson Elliot saniert Frankfurter Büroturm Der Private-Equity-Immobilienfonds-Manager Benson Elliot hat den als „Turmcenter“ bekannten Büroturm in der Frankfurter Innenstadt von der LBBW Immobilien erworben.

Der 23-stöckige Büroturm wurde von dem einstigen Hauptmieter Ernst & Young leergezogen und anschließende Sanierungspläne sind bisher nicht realisert worden. Die Akquisition umfasst auch einen benachbarten gemischt genutzten Gebäudekomplex mit über 400 Parkplätzen, zusätzlichen Büroflächen und einem langfristig vermieteten Supermarkt.

Benson Elliot plant eine umfassende Revitalisierung. Der sanierte Büroturm wird über 15.000 Quadratmeter effiziente Bürofläche verfügen und aktuellen Nachhaltigkeitskriterien entsprechen. Die Immobilie ist ideal positioniert, den wachsenden Flächenbedarf von kleinen und mittleren Unternehmen in der Frankfurter Innenstadt zu bedienen. Mit der Projektsteuerung wurde die Dreyer & Kollegen Real Estate GmbH beauftragt, mit der das Benson Elliot Senior Team bereits vor zehn Jahren die Entwicklung der Münchner Maximilianhöfe realisiert hat.

Philipp Braschel, Principal von Benson Elliot sagte:
“Das wird ein spannendes Projekt für Benson Elliot. Mit effizienten Grundrissen und innovativer Technik ist das Gebäude perfekt auf die Anforderungen von mittelständischen Unternehmen auf der Suche nach repräsentativen Büroflächen zugeschnitten. Benson Elliot’s Kombination aus lokaler und operativer Erfahrung und rasch verfügbarem Eigenkapital hat den Fonds ideal positioniert, um dieses Wahrzeichen in der Folge an seinen angestammten Platz in der Frankfurter Skyline zurückzuführen.”

Andreas Krone von NAI Apollo hat Benson Elliot bei der Transaktion und der Entwicklungsmassnahme beraten.

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November 4, 2013 Benson Elliot builds on regional investment programme with Quedam Centre acquisition in Yeovil Benson Elliot, the UK-based private equity real estate fund manager, announces the completion of its acquisition of the Quedam Centre in Yeovil, a 175,000 square feet shopping centre purchased from UBS’s Triton Fund, owner since 2005.

The Quedam Centre is an attractive, open centre located in the heart of Yeovil, and is home to retailers such as TopShop, Monsoon, River Island, USC, Boots and Starbucks. It represents the town’s only managed retail destination and provides 25% of Yeovil’s total retail space. The asset comprises the 45-unit Centre together with 4 high street shops, a 650-space multi storey car park, and an adjoining development property, the 50,000 square feet Vincent’s Yard, all encompassed within a 7.4 acre town centre site. Benson Elliot could also benefit from a prior planning consent for a potential 170,000 square foot extension.

The Centre is currently 16% vacant, providing opportunities for Benson Elliot’s specialist retail team to undertake a proactive asset management programme, maximising income from the property by reconfiguring and leasing up available space, re-gearing existing leases and managing down costs.

Savills acted for Benson Elliot in the acquisition, with GCW and Macarthur Wilson being retained to lead a new letting campaign.

Commenting on the acquisition, Marc Mogull, founder and Managing Partner of Benson Elliot, said:

“This transaction builds on the regional investment programme we have pursued across the UK during the past 12 months. We have seen some attractive opportunities to acquire undervalued properties in the regions, where assets with sound real estate fundamentals have suffered from a lack of proactive management during the economic downturn.

“The Quedam Centre is a well-anchored shopping destination in one of the most vibrant catchments in the South West. With the right management and investment we believe we can create exciting opportunities for new and existing retailers, enhancing income and growing value to generate strong future returns.”

 

 

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October 25, 2013 Work starts to transform Ealing’s Arcadia Shopping Centre into 1-8 Broadway, W5 • Construction has started to create 1-8 The Broadway from the old Arcadia Shopping Centre. • Major retailers secured – Morrisons, TK Maxx and McDonalds – who will open in time for Christmas 2014 trading. • Local employment opportunities in Ealing to be created in retail and construction sectors over the coming year.

Construction has started on a £6 million plus programme of works to transform the empty Arcadia Shopping Centre into a new landmark retail destination for Ealing, 1-8 The Broadway.

Benson Elliot, a leading UK-based private equity real estate investor, secured planning consent from Ealing Council in June for a major redesign and conversion of the existing building, turning 25 small shops into 3 large stores fronting The Broadway.

The revamped building, designed by award-winning architects Allies & Morrison, will set a bright and modern tone for the north side of the Broadway while respecting local architecture and the site’s prominent location. It will also see the current clocktower replaced with a striking new illuminated terracotta lantern, featuring a clock.

Three major high street retailers have now signed up to take the entire 100,000 sq ft, Morrisons will open its new high quality ‘Fresh Market’ store (47,000 sq ft), TK Maxx will double the size of its existing unit (43,000 sq ft) and McDonalds will move from their current location to take the prominent corner unit (9,000 sq ft).

Main contractor Knight Harwood are due to complete the works by summer 2014, with the new stores opening in time for Christmas 2014 trading. TK Maxx will continue to operate as normal during the building works.

As part of the employment opportunities created by the development, links are being established by the retailers and Knight Harwood with local apprenticeship organisations to ensure local people benefit from the project.

Peter Cornforth, Director of Retail at Benson Elliot, said:

“The start of building work on this critical site is a great step forward for Ealing town centre. Almost 100,000 sq ft of quality retail space, three big high street names and £6 million spent transforming a tired building; this is priceless news for Ealing Broadway.”

“With construction starting now, 1-8 The Broadway will be open and trading by late autumn 2014. Christmas will be coming early for Ealing next year.”

Andrew Birtwistle, Development Executive at Morrisons, said:

“We’re delighted that work has started on site and this takes us an important step closer to bringing our unique fresh food offer to Ealing Broadway. Ealing is an exciting growth area and our new full format store here marks another important milestone in our London expansion programme. The Broadway store builds on the success of our new Morrisons M Local store which opened in Ealing earlier this year. We’re looking for opportunities to invest, create jobs and bring great quality food shopping to new areas across London and we look forward to continuing our work with Benson Elliot in Ealing.”

This major reconfiguration marks the first phase of a comprehensive reworking of the Arcadia site. Benson Elliot’s initial acquisition of the 2.8 acre Arcadia portfolio in December 2012 was followed in March this year by the acquisition of 12-14 The Broadway, taking the company’s total investment in the town centre to circa £50 million.

Work on the rest of the portfolio will follow shortly with Benson Elliot starting consultation with local communities by the end of the year. These plans, also designed by Allies and Morrison, will most likely include a core of residential development surrounded by new retail space and quality public realm. The arrival of the £18 billion Crossrail project from 2018 will further improve the area’s accessibility, reducing commuting times to central London by up to 50% and enhancing Ealing’s popularity as a place to live, work and socialise.

 

Notes to editors

About the construction works

The construction works package is worth around £6 million and will be led by the main contractor, Knight Harwood. Work is due to take around 10 months and commenced on Monday 14th October 2013.

Internal work to the Arcadia Shopping Centre includes a full reconfiguration of the inside of the building, removing the escalators and taking down partition walls. This will create a major store across the upper level (TK Maxx) – accessed via escalator and lift from a Broadway unit, whilst retaining a revamped Spring Bridge Road entrance – Morrisons will take the large store at ground floor, with prominent double height frontage to The Broadway, McDonalds will occupy a brand new unit on the corner of The Broadway and Spring Bridge Road.

External works include a complete redesign of the building’s three facades, including:

  • A new corner entrance on The Broadway and Spring Bridge Road which will be the focal point of the scheme, featuring a striking double-height retail facade below a new landmark illuminated ‘lantern’ that will include a clock.
  • The Broadway façade will be brought back into line with the rest of the high street, with new double-height shop windows creating an open and inviting frontage.
  • The building’s tired Spring Bridge Road façade will have its existing shop fronts re-glazed and terracotta panelling added to the refurbished brickwork, creating a contemporary, high quality façade in this sensitive setting alongside the listed church.

About Morrisons

Morrisons is one of the UK’s biggest food retailers, with 490 stores, and we’re the only British supermarket to have our own food processing sites, abattoirs and even a farm. We employ expert livestock buyers to pick animals straight from the farmer and we are unique in making almost a quarter of the food we sell in store ourselves, giving us unrivalled control over our supply chain. We’re committed to supporting British farming, that’s why all Morrisons-branded fresh meat and everything on our butchers’ counters is 100% British. And we have more skilled specialists on hand to prepare more fresh food in store than any other retailer, with over 6,000 fully trained crafts people in our stores including butchers, bakers, fishmongers and cheesemongers.

Every week, over 11 million customers pass through our doors and more than 131,000 colleagues across the business work hard each day to deliver great service to them. Our aim is to give our customers more of what matters to them, offering great quality food at low prices.

About the three tenants for 1-8 The Broadway

  • Morrisons is a new retailer to 1-8 The Broadway and will occupy a 47,000 gross sq ft ‘Fresh Format’ store. The Fresh Format store is a new ‘best in class’ format, which will deliver a wide range of fresh produce at great Morrisons value.
  • TK Maxx already trades on the upper level of the Arcadia Shopping Centre and will expand across the rest of the floor, doubling in size to 43,000 gross sq ft. The store will gain a new Broadway entrance including escalators and lifts. It will continue trading throughout the building works and will also re-open its Spring Bridge Road entrance.
  • McDonalds will move across from its current store to take The Broadway corner unit, formally occupied by HMV. The new store will be 8,000 gross sq ft. It will also continue trading throughout the building works.

About the Arcadia Portfolio

The properties were assembled between 2006 and 2008 by Glenkerrin, an Irish developer. They planned to develop a c.1,000,000 sq ft mixed retail and residential scheme; while the Glenkerrin proposals for regeneration gained the backing of LB Ealing, at a subsequent Public Inquiry the proposed scale and height were considered not to be in keeping with the adjoining Conservation Areas. In 2011, Glenkerrin was declared insolvent, resulting in all company assets being transferred to the National Asset Management Agency (“NAMA”).

On 29 October 2012, Benson Elliot exchanged contracts with Malcolm Shierson and Martin Ellis of Grant Thornton acting as Joint Administrator of Glenkerrin (UK) Limited and Joint LPA receiver over the assets of The Broadway Partnership for the acquisition of the Arcadia Portfolio, the major part of a 2.8-acre island-block in Ealing town centre, West London. Benson Elliot completed the deal on 7 December 2012.

In December 2012 Benson Elliot acquired 12-14 The Broadway from Legal & General and has now let the store to fast-expanding boutique coffee shop Harris + Hoole.

In June 2013, Benson Elliot received a resolution to grant consent from LB Ealing for the internal and external changes to the Arcadia Shopping Centre.

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September 13, 2013 Benson Elliot accelerates the pace in £1 billion “Reach for the Regions” Acquisition of 55 Princess Street, Manchester, to take value of UK regional investment and development programme above £900 million.

Benson Elliot, the UK-based private equity real estate fund manager, has invested close to £100 million in regional towns in recent weeks, demonstrating its continuing confidence in the outlook for the UK real estate market outside of Central London. These new acquisitions take the value of its regional investment and development programme in the UK close to £1 billion. The latest in a series of deals targeting regional UK real estate is 55 Princess Street, a Grade A office building in prime central Manchester, which the Fund has exchanged contracts to acquire.

The firm’s vote of confidence in Manchester reinforces the firm’s regional strategy, which guided the purchase of Phase 2000 of Cambourne Business Park, Cambridge, in June of this year, and the more recent acquisition of the Fishergate Shopping Centre in Preston. Fishergate is an in-town centre that dominates its local catchment, and offers the opportunity for the Fund to use its in-house retail asset management expertise to grow income and create long term value at a time when the still fragile occupier market is showing some positive signs of stabilising.

Benson Elliot’s regional portfolio also includes the Station Hill redevelopment in Reading, acquired in 2010 in joint venture with Stanhope. Designs have been submitted for a five acre mixed-use scheme, which is due to be decided by Reading Borough Council later in the year. If Council approval is secured, construction of the first phase of the project is expected to commence in 2014.

55 Princess Street, Manchester

55 Princess Street is an off-market acquisition from LNC Property, of a recently developed class A office building in Manchester’s Central Business District. The Manchester market is one of the UK’s strongest regional office markets with an average annual take-up of over 900,000 sf vs. class A vacancy below 3%. The Property was constructed in 2008 and provides 51,700 sf of office space arranged over six above grade floors, and 4,100 sf of ground floor retail space. The Property is 36% let and represents an opportunity for the Fund to implement a dynamic marketing and lease-up programme, bringing the building to full occupancy.

Phase 2000, Cambourne Business Park, Cambridge

Phase 2000 of Cambourne Business Park was acquired by Benson Elliot in June 2013 from Aviva Investors. The property comprises three modern Grade A office buildings in an attractive business park close to Cambridge. With 40,000 sf of Grade A availability (vs. over 1.5 m sf of active demand), Cambridge is one of the UK’s strongest and most dynamic regional office markets. The properties are multi-let, high spec office buildings set in an attractive 7.6 acre landscaped area with 549 parking spaces, and offer the potential to grow value through an active asset management programme letting up vacant space and re-gearing existing leases.

Fishergate Shopping Centre, Preston

Benson Elliot acquired the Fishergate Shopping Centre in August 2013 from Deloitte, as administrative receiver for Lloyds Banking Group. Anchoring the eastern end of Preston’s prime retail pitch, the Fishergate centre is spread over 340,000 sf and offers a 750 space car park. It is currently let to a range of tenants, and strongly anchored by Debenhams, Primark, TK Maxx and Argos. The centre offers a number of opportunities to enhance value, in particular by reconfiguring some of the existing space and potentially extending the existing retail footprint.

Commenting on the company’s strategy for investing in the regions, Marc Mogull, founder and Managing Partner of Benson Elliot, said:

“I’ve been interested to see the accelerating interest in UK regional investment these past few months. We set ourselves a quiet target of £1 billion a few years ago, having taken the view that the spread between prime London yields and the best of the rest was getting too wide to be justified by fundamentals. People sometimes forget how little new stock has been delivered outside London over the past few years, and companies are always looking to upgrade their space, even if they’re not able to grow.

“This strategy has allowed us to pick off almost a dozen transactions since then, before the arrival of the herd. Opportunities are still out there, but recent transactions evidence how competitive it’s becoming: instead of no bids we’re seeing best bids, and pricing for anything plain vanilla has moved up sharply. It was inevitable that domestic institutional investors would return to the market when they started rotating out of bonds: they’re seeing the same attractions of higher yields and strengthening fundamentals that we saw.

“On the retail side, investors have been running scared, worried that regional retail has no future in an internet world. Retail is changing, and so retailers and landlords must look to evolve their product further. Not all centres will survive – and the rental levels at which many centres will operate going forward has to fall to reflect their long-term sales potential – but we believe there is selective mispricing in the market, and the potential to create value from the right assets; we’re willing to work our way through the changing marketplace.

“With our in-house capabilities we can invest the time, knowledge and capital to extract value from centres that others may have given up on. We’ve had good success re-positioning the Arcadia site in Ealing. That should re-open next year. Preston is also a good centre, dominant within its local market; it’s a good fit for our approach, and we’re confident we can generate substantial long-term value from it.”

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July 17, 2013 Benson Elliot Doubles Up on the Sale of Silvertower Assets Benson Elliot, a leading UK-based private equity real estate investor, has announced the sale of 390 units in the Silvertower Portfolio to Berlin-based property company Wohnbaugesellschaft Berlin-Mitte mbH (“WBM”).

The assets are the remaining properties from the Silvertower Portfolio, a portfolio of 720 multi-family residential units located in Berlin’s popular Friedrichshain district, which Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners II, L.P. (the “Fund”) acquired in 2010 for €36.7 million in a joint venture with Hirling Capital Investment Services GmbH. The deal follows the sale of c. 50% of the portfolio in July 2012 to Akelius Berlin GmbH, the German subsidiary of Sweden-based Akelius Fastigheter AB.

After acquiring the portfolio, Benson Elliot undertook a rigorous asset management programme to maximise income, reduce voids and stabilise the properties. Pricing of the sales to WBM and Akelius is confidential; across the two sales, however, the Fund has achieved a return on its investment of over 2x.

Commenting on the disposal, Philipp Braschel, Principal at Benson Elliot, said:

“The sale of the remaining Silvertower assets concludes a very successful investment for Benson Elliot, underlining our ability to source attractive properties with strong fundamentals, and to generate value on behalf of our investors. The current market offers an increasing number of opportunities to acquire assets where we can apply our real estate expertise to the task of growing value; we are closely monitoring the market to take advantage of these when they become available.”

In line with this strategy, Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners III, L.P. acquired the TOR Residential Portfolio, a multi-family portfolio of 80 properties / 3,100 units in Germany in May 2012.

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July 17, 2013 Benson Elliot verkauft Silvertower Objekte Benson Elliot, ein führender, aus Großbritannien agierender Private Equity Immobilienfondsmanager, gibt den Verkauf von 390 Wohneinheiten des Silvertower Wohn-Portfolios an die Berliner Wohnbaugesellschaft Berlin-Mitte mbH (“WBM”) bekannt.

Die Anlagen repräsentieren die verbliebenen Einheiten des ehemals 720 Einheiten umfassenden Silvertower Portfolios gelegen in Berlin Friedrichshain, welche Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners II, L.P. im September 2010 in einem Joint Venture mit Hirling Capital Investment Services GmbH erworben hatte. Der Geschäftsabschluss folgt dem Verkauf von ca. 50% des Portfolios im Juli 2012 an Akelius Berlin GmbH, ein Tochterunternehmen der schwedischen Akelius Fastigheter AB.

Der Verkauf erfolgte nach erfolgreichem Abschluss zahlreicher Asset Management Initiativen und Investitionen in enger Zusammenarbeit mit Hirling Capital Investment Services. Diese Initiativen führten zu einer signifikanten Reduktion des Leerstands, erhöhten Mieteinnahmen und zu einer Stabilisierung der Objekte. Die Höhe des Verkaufspreises an WBM und Akelius ist vertraulich.

Philipp Braschel, Principal bei Benson Elliot, sagte:

“Der Verkauf der verbliebenen Silvertower Gebäude schließt eine sehr erfolgreiche Investition für Benson Elliot ab und demonstriert unsere Fähigkeit Kaufgelegenheiten zu identifizieren, Investitionen zu managen und erfolgreich zu verwerten, um für unsere Investoren Werte zu schaffen. Wir sind von den attraktiven Investmentmöglichkeiten des deutschen Immobiliensektors weiterhin überzeugt und beobachten den Markt sehr genau.”

Zudem hat Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners III, L.P. im Mai 2012 das TOR Wohnportfolio mit 80 Gebäuden / 3.100 Wohnungen, erworben.

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July 15, 2013 Lord Levene to Join Benson Elliot Advisory Board Benson Elliot, the UK-based private equity real estate fund manager, announced today the appointment of Lord Levene of Portsoken to the firm’s Board of Strategic Advisors (the “Advisory Board”).

Lord Levene brings a wealth of experience to Benson Elliot, from a career in industry, finance and government spanning more than 40 years. Currently Chairman of Starr Underwriting Agents Ltd, General Dynamics UK Ltd and the UK Ministry of Defence Reform Group, Lord Levene was previously Chairman of Lloyd’s – the insurance market – a position he held from 2002 to 2011. Before joining Lloyd’s Lord Levene served as Vice Chairman of Deutsche Bank, having previously served as Chairman of Bankers Trust International, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Wasserstein Perella, and Senior Advisor to Morgan Stanley.

Lord Levene started his career in the defence industry, and subsequently was appointed as Permanent Secretary in the UK Ministry of Defence responsible for Defence Procurement. He then served in a number of other government posts, including as Adviser to the Prime Minister on Efficiency. Lord Levene was appointed Chairman of the Docklands Light Railway in 1991 and Chairman and Chief Executive of Canary Wharf Group in 1993. He has served as an Alderman of the City of London, as well as Sheriff and Lord Mayor.

Lord Levene is currently a member of the board of Haymarket Group and Eurotunnel SA. Previous board memberships include China Construction Bank, Deutsche Borse, Eurotunnel, J Sainsbury plc and TOTAL SA. He holds a degree in Economics and Politics from the University of Manchester, as well as honorary degrees from City University and the University of London. Lord Levene was knighted in 1989 for his service to Defence, and subsequently received a peerage, whereby he sits on the cross benches of the House of Lords. He is a Commander of the Ordre National du Merite in France, a Knight Commander of the Order of Merit in Germany and also holds the Order of Merit in Hungary.

The Advisory Board comprises a group of senior business and former government leaders who provide strategic advice to Benson Elliot, bringing an external perspective to bear on investment strategy and portfolio management. Advisory Board members provide the firm with insight into public policy thinking as it impacts on private equity real estate, as well as sector-based inputs where appropriate.

Commenting on the appointment, Marc Mogull, founder and Managing Partner of Benson Elliot, said:

“Lord Levene is one of the most accomplished business leaders of his generation. He has an impressive record of achievement in finance and industry, and has served as a trusted adviser to government as well. His extensive knowledge of our sector, the finance sector, and the broader business and policy environment will provide Benson Elliot with important commercial and strategic insight. I am very pleased that he has decided to join the Advisory Board, and look forward to working with him as we grow our business.”

Lord Levene said: “I’m delighted to be joining the Benson Elliot team, and bringing my experience to one of the most accomplished and respected fiduciary service firms in the European property arena. I look forward to working closely with Marc, the partners of Benson Elliot, and the other members of this dynamic team.”

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June 19, 2013 Benson Elliot Secures Consent to Convert Ealing’s Arcadia Shopping Centre
  • Ealing Council’s Planning Committee unanimously approves plan to transform the Arcadia Centre into three large stores fronting The Broadway
  • The building will undergo a major redesign by award-winning architects, Allies and Morrison
  • Morrisons will open a ‘Fresh Format’ store, TK Maxx will double its space and McDonald’s will open a new corner unit — all well in time for Christmas trading next year and creating hundreds of job opportunities
  • Momentum builds for further development of Benson Elliot’s Arcadia Portfolio in central Ealing

Benson Elliot, a leading UK-based private equity real estate investor, has secured planning consent from Ealing Council to convert the Arcadia Shopping Centre from more than 25 small shops into three large stores fronting Ealing Broadway. After construction has finished, this landmark site will re-emerge as ‘1-8 The Broadway, W5’.

The plans were voted through unanimously by Ealing Council’s planning committee last week (12 June 2013).

The Arcadia shopping centre will be comprehensively transformed inside and out. Inside, three new stores – a large unit on each of the lower and upper ground floors, together with a new corner unit – will be carved out of the current mish-mash of small shops and kiosks. Outside, a new façade comprising double-height glazing, fine metalwork, and elements of Ealing’s classic vernacular brick, terracotta and render will combine in a crisp and contemporary design that is both ambitious and confident, whilst respectful of local architecture and the site’s prominent location.

Peter Cornforth, Director of Retail at Benson Elliot, said:

“Our vision breathes new life into this hugely important site, turning the old Arcadia Centre inside out to create three prime shop units fronting The Broadway. It’s particularly encouraging to see major high street brands sharing our vision and launching their best-in-class formats with us in time for Christmas trading next year. Ealing Council’s unanimous vote to approve the scheme and the support of local civic and community groups through our consultation process sets the tone for a very bright future for the north side of The Broadway and the town centre as a whole.

“This first phase creates a platform to develop the strategy for our wider Arcadia site and since purchasing the portfolio in December 2012 we have acquired additional adjacent properties to round out our ownership. We are looking forward to consulting with the Council and community on the wider framework and continuing to deliver high quality proposals in this vibrant London location.”

Richard Haynes, Development Executive at Morrisons, said:

“We’re delighted to be bringing our unique fresh food offer to Ealing Broadway. Ealing is an exciting growth area and our new full format store here marks another important step in our London expansion programme. We’re looking for opportunities to invest, create jobs and bring great quality food shopping to new areas across London and the South and we look forward to continuing our work with Benson Elliot to do this in Ealing.”

The design improvements include:

  • A focal point of the scheme will be the new corner entrance on The Broadway and Spring Bridge Road, featuring a striking double-height retail facade below a new landmark illuminated ‘lantern’, featuring a clock.
  • The Broadway façade will be brought back into line with the rest of the high street, with new double-height shop windows creating an open and inviting frontage.
  • The building’s tired Spring Bridge Road façade will have its existing shop fronts re-glazed and terracotta panelling added to the refurbished brickwork, creating a contemporary, high quality façade in this sensitive setting alongside the listed church.

Benson Elliot is working with Allies & Morrison, whose portfolio includes a number of landmark developments in London, including the widely acclaimed refurbishment of the Royal Festival Hall on London’s Southbank and sensitive mixed-use town centre schemes including Hereford and Winchester.

Ahead of the decision last week, Benson Elliot consulted with Ealing Council, the Business Improvement District, local interest groups and the wider community.

This major reconfiguration marks the first step in a comprehensive regeneration of the Arcadia site’s town centre contribution. Benson Elliot acquired the 2.8 acre Arcadia portfolio, including the Arcadia shopping centre, in December 2012 for around £40 m. In March 2013, Benson Elliot acquired 12-14 The Broadway from Legal & General. This takes Benson’s Elliot’s total investment in Ealing town centre to circa £45 m. Later this year, the company will begin consulting on a strategy for the rest of the site they own.

The redevelopment of the Arcadia portfolio will contribute towards the regeneration of Ealing town centre, reinforcing it as one of London’s most prosperous and well-connected areas. The arrival of the £18 billion Crossrail project from 2018 will further improve the area’s accessibility, reducing commuting times to central London by up to 50%.

Tenant details: Morrisons will occupy a 47,000 gross sq ft ‘Fresh Market’ store at 1-8 The Broadway W5, and the two other retailers are TX Maxx and McDonald’s. TX Maxx will trade on the upper level still, but expand across the rest of the floor and will have a new Broadway entrance incorporating escalators and lifts, and will re-open their Spring Bridge Road entrance. McDonald’s will move across to the old HMV unit, accessed from the Broadway corner. The rest of the lower floor will be let to Morrisons.

McDonald’s and TK Maxx will be able to continue trading throughout the building works.

 

About the Arcadia Portfolio

The properties were assembled between 2006 and 2008 by Glenkerrin, an Irish developer. They planned to develop a c.1,000,000 sq ft mixed retail and residential scheme; while the Glenkerrin proposals for regeneration gained the backing of LB Ealing, at a subsequent Public Inquiry the proposed scale and height were considered not to be in keeping with the adjoining Conservation Areas. In 2011, Glenkerrin was declared insolvent, resulting in all company assets being transferred to the National Asset Management Agency (“NAMA”).

On 29 October 2012, Benson Elliot exchanged contracts with Malcolm Shierson and Martin Ellis of Grant Thornton acting as Joint Administrator of Glenkerrin (UK) Limited and Joint LPA receiver over the assets of The Broadway Partnership for the acquisition of the Arcadia Portfolio, the major part of a 2.8-acre island-block in Ealing town centre, West London. Benson Elliot completed the deal on 7 December 2012.

The redevelopment of the Arcadia portfolio will contribute towards the regeneration of Ealing town centre, reinforcing it as one of London’s most prosperous and well-connected areas. The arrival of the £18 billion Crossrail project from 2018 will further improve the area’s accessibility, reducing commuting times to central London by up to 50%.

Benson Elliot founder Marc Mogull has led the funding of urban regeneration projects across Europe during the past twenty years, and is the UK Chairman of the Urban Land Institute, the pre-eminent global land-use organisation. The Arcadia Site transaction represents the fifth investment for the €500 million Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners III fund.

 

Morrisons – different and better than ever

Morrisons is one of the UK’s biggest food retailers, with 490 stores, and we’re the only British supermarket to have our own food processing sites, abattoirs and even a farm. We employ expert livestock buyers to pick animals straight from the farmer and we are unique in making almost a quarter of the food we sell in store ourselves, giving us unrivalled control over our supply chain. We’re committed to supporting British farming, that’s why all Morrisons-branded fresh meat and everything on our butchers’ counters is 100% British. And we have more skilled specialists on hand to prepare more fresh food in store than any other retailer, with over 6,000 fully trained crafts people in our stores including butchers, bakers, fishmongers and cheesemongers. Every week, over 11 million customers pass through our doors and more than 131,000 colleagues across the business work hard each day to deliver great service to them. Our aim is to give our customers more of what matters to them, offering great quality food at low prices.

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May 24, 2013 Arcadia in the Ascendency

Property Week

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April 16, 2013 Marc Mogull Appointed Fellow of Cambridge’s Hughes Hall Benson Elliot Capital Management, the UK-based private equity real estate fund manager, announces that its founder and Managing Partner, Marc Mogull, has been appointed a City Fellow of Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge.

Marc has worked closely with the University for several years. He was a founding member of the Cambridge Land Economy Advisory Board (CLEAB), and last year joined the faculty of the Land Economy Department as a Senior Fellow. Marc teaches Real Estate Development – a required course for the MPhil in Planning, Growth and Regeneration – during the Lent term, bringing his 25 years of experience into the classroom and helping to prepare the next generation of global industry leaders.

Hughes Hall is Cambridge’s oldest graduate college, and has strong links with the Department of Land Economy. The College includes amongst its Fellows Professor Ian Hodge, who headed Cambridge’s Department of Land Economy from 2002 to 2011. Through its unique City Fellows scheme the College appoints Fellows who are active in the City of London to help create closer links to the UK business community, and to bring to the College useful professional skills.

Marc is one of the most experienced and respected principal investors in Europe. Before founding Benson Elliot in 2005 he established and managed the successful Doughty Hanson & Co European Real Estate Fund (42% gross IRR; 4.1x gross equity multiple). At Doughty Hanson Marc directed the acquisition and management of a €2 billion property portfolio, comprising office, retail, residential and industrial properties in eight countries across Europe.

A leader in the emerging markets of Central and Eastern Europe, Marc established the property team at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in 1993. He assumed responsibility for the EBRD’s hotel investments in 1995, and shipping finance in 1997. During Marc’s tenure at the EBRD, he was responsible for funding over twenty development transactions in the real estate and hotel sectors, with a total cost in excess of €1 billion. Marc began his European real estate career at Goldman Sachs, which he joined from Chicago-based JMB Realty Corporation.

Marc has a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics, magna cum laude, from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and a Master of Business Administration, summa cum laude, from Northwestern University’s J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management. In addition to his work with Cambridge and his leadership of Benson Elliot, Marc serves as UK Chairman of the Urban Land Institute, is a visiting lecturer at Oxford University’s Said Business School, a member of the Bank of England Property Advisory Forum, and, in 2011, was elected an Eminent Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Commenting on his Hughes Hall appointment, Marc said: “I am enormously proud to be appointed to the Fellowship at Hughes Hall. I have great respect for the College’s leadership, its commitment to graduate education, and – perhaps less well-known – its pioneering role in the education of women at Cambridge. This appointment is an important milestone in my affiliation with Cambridge University, and in particular with the Land Economy Department. It remains an honour and a pleasure to share the knowledge gained during a long career in property with students who will someday drive investment activity and public policy in the UK and internationally.”

Sarah Squire, President of Hughes Hall, said: “Marc is a highly respected and well known real estate professional, who has had a significant influence on the property sector during his career – both through his investment activities and his work in the policy arena. He is an inspirational lecturer, and will be a valuable addition to the Fellowship at Hughes Hall. We are firmly focused on providing our students with the best possible preparation for their careers beyond Cambridge, whether academic or professional. Marc’s participation in our City Fellows scheme will afford our business students access to his unique understanding of the global environment and his wealth of public and private sector experience.”

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March 20, 2013 Benson Elliot Launches Plans to Convert Ealing’s Arcadia Shopping Centre
  • Arcadia Centre radically reconfigured into three large stores fronting The Broadway
  • Building’s exterior to undergo major redesign by award-winning architects, Allies and Morrison
  • Planning applications for the scheme to be submitted on 19 March 2013
  • Morrisons to open “Fresh Format” store, TK Maxx expanding into entire upper floor and McDonald’s take a new corner unit
  • Further land acquired by Benson Elliot to complete assembly of ‘urban block’

Benson Elliot, a leading UK-based private equity real estate investor, is submitting plans to convert the former Arcadia Shopping Centre from over 25 small shops into three large retail units fronting Ealing Broadway. The name ‘Arcadia Shopping Centre’ will go, and the fully refurbished building will be known as 1-8 The Broadway, W5.

Benson Elliot acquired the 2.8 acre Arcadia portfolio, including the shopping centre, in December 2012 for around £40m. This major reconfiguration marks the first step in the comprehensive regeneration of the site. A Planning Application for the scheme will be submitted this week (Wednesday 20 March 2013) to Ealing Council.

The old shopping centre will be comprehensively transformed inside and out. Inside, three new stores – a large unit at each of the lower and upper ground floors, together with a new corner unit – will be created to replace the current mish-mash of small shops and kiosk traders. Outside, glazing and greater detail will be added to the bland brickwork of the current building, creating a crisp and contemporary design that is both ambitious and in keeping with local architecture. The Arcadia Centre name will disappear and the new retail units revert to 1-8 The Broadway.

  • The main focus of the building will be the new corner entrance on The Broadway and Spring Bridge Road, which will feature metal-framed, double-height windows below a new landmark terracotta illuminated ‘lantern’ featuring a clock
  • The shopping centre’s Broadway façade will be brought back into line with the rest of the high street, with new framed double-height shop windows creating an open and inviting frontage
  • The building’s tired Spring Bridge Road façade will have its existing windows re-glazed and terracotta panelling added to the refurbished brickwork, creating a tidy, high quality and calming setting alongside the church

As part of the project’s development, Benson Elliot has consulted with Ealing Council, the Business Improvement District and the local community. Benson Elliot is working with Allies and Morrison, who are credited with a number of landmark developments in London, including the widely acclaimed refurbishment of the Royal Festival Hall on London’s Southbank and sensitive mixed-use town centre schemes including Hereford and Winchester.

Peter Cornforth, Director of Retail at Benson Elliot, said: “Our vision is to resuscitate the struggling Arcadia Centre, turning it into three contemporary retail units fronting The Broadway. It’s very encouraging to see major high street brands and retailers expanding their presence, or entering the town centre for the first time. Given the number of vacant units on high streets up and down the country, we see this as a major vote of confidence in Ealing.”

Benson Elliot has secured three tenants: Morrisons will occupy a 47,000 gross sq ft ‘Fresh Format’ store at 1-8 The Broadway W5, and the two other retailers are TX Maxx and McDonald’s. TX Maxx will trade on the upper level still, but expand across the rest of the floor and will have a new Broadway entrance incorporating escalators and lifts, and re-open their Springbridge Road entrance. McDonald’s will move across to the old HMV unit, accessed from the Broadway corner. The rest of the lower floor will be let to Morrisons.

McDonald’s and TK Maxx will be able to continue trading throughout the building works.

Matthew McMillan, Chief Executive Officer, Ealing Broadway Business Improvement District said: “Ealing is on the up. Benson Elliot’s initial investment in the Arcadia Portfolio and now this commitment to create space for three large stores at 1-8 The Broadway is good news. With British Land recently buying the Broadway Centre, Land Securities coming onboard for the Cinema Quarter development and St George’s success at Dickens Yard, business and investor confidence in Ealing is really gathering pace. We look forward to continued momentum and discussing Benson Elliot’s plans for their phase two development shortly.”

At the same time Benson Elliot also announced the acquisition from Legal & General of 12-14 The Broadway. This takes Benson’s Elliot’s total investment to circa £45 m in the town centre. Later this year, the company will begin consultation on proposals for the rest of the site they own.

 

About the Arcadia Portfolio

The properties were assembled between 2006 and 2008 by Glenkerrin, an Irish developer. They planned to develop a c.1,000,000 sq ft mixed retail and residential scheme; while the Glenkerrin proposals for regeneration gained the backing of LB Ealing, at a subsequent public Inquiry the proposed scale and height were considered not to be in keeping with the adjoining Conservation Areas. In 2011, Glenkerrin was declared insolvent, resulting in all company assets being transferred to the National Asset Management Agency (“NAMA”).

On 29 October 2012, Benson Elliot exchanged contracts with Malcolm Shierson and Martin Ellis of Grant Thornton acting as Joint Administrator of Glenkerrin (UK) Limited and Joint LPA receiver over the assets of The Broadway Partnership for the acquisition of the Arcadia Portfolio, the major part of a 2.8-acre island-block in Ealing town centre, West London. Benson Elliot completed the deal on 7 December 2012.

The Benson Elliot redevelopment and upgrade plans will contribute towards the regeneration of Ealing town centre, reinforcing it as one of London’s most prosperous and well-connected areas. Furthermore, the £18 billion Crossrail project currently underway will also significantly improve the area’s accessibility, reducing commuting times to central London by up to 50% from 2018.

Benson Elliot founder Marc Mogull has led the funding of urban regeneration projects across Europe during the past twenty years, and is the UK Chairman of the Urban Land Institute, the pre-eminent global land-use organisation. The Arcadia Site transaction represents the fifth investment for the €500 million Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners III fund.

Morrisons – different and better than ever

Morrisons is the UK’s fourth largest food retailer with 500 stores. Our business is mainly food and grocery – the weekly shop. Uniquely we source and process most of the fresh food that we sell though our own manufacturing facilities, giving us close control over provenance and quality. We only sell 100% British fresh beef, lamb, pork and poultry and we have more people preparing more food in store than any other retailer including butchers, bakers and fishmongers. Every week, more than 11 million customers pass through our doors and more than 132,000 colleagues across the business work hard each day to deliver great service to them. With competitive prices and hundreds of special offers, we are proud to save our customers money every day.

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