Regional strategy pays off for Benson Elliot as disposals pass £275 million in just 12 months

Benson Elliot, the UK-based private equity real estate fund manager, has announced the sale of 55 Princess Street in Manchester for £22.4 million to Ignis UK Property Fund, managed by Standard Life Investments, and Templeback in Bristol to Orchard Street Investment Management for £58.5 million, reflecting net initial yields of 5.65% and 5.34% respectively. The two disposals, which have been concluded in off-market transactions, bring Benson Elliot’s total proceeds from seven UK exits during the past 12 months to over £275 million. The success of the Benson Elliot UK regional investment programme highlights the firm’s ability to identify and capitalise on value-add opportunities across the UK.

Marc Mogull, Benson Elliot Managing Partner, commented:
“We have successfully marketed a number of our mature UK regional assets in BEREP II during the past 12 months, and have also had some unsolicited approaches on our BEREP III portfolio, reflecting the strong appetite amongst investors for institutional quality properties like Templeback and Princess Street.

The returns we have secured from these seven investments support our conviction to be an early mover into the regions, and underscore the success we have had in implementing our value-add programmes.”

Templeback is a 122,000 sq ft office development behind a retained Victorian façade, located in the heart of Bristol’s commercial area on the waterfront of the Floating Harbour canal. Since acquiring the building in October 2014, Benson Elliot has upgraded the shared areas, improved its viewing experience and increased the building’s lettable area. Blue Speck Financial and Mott MacDonald recently leased 13,000 sq ft and 10,400 sq ft respectively.

55 Princess Street provides 51,700 sq ft of grade A office space in Manchester’s prime business core, arranged over six floors, along with 4,100 sq ft of ground floor retail space. Since the acquisition of the building in September 2013, Benson Elliot has overseen the refurbishment of the reception and common areas, and upgraded vacant space, helping to secure a number of recent lettings to tenants including international law firm, Trowers & Hamlins on a 10 year lease, bringing the building’s occupancy to 77%.

George Shaw, Fund Manager of the Ignis UK Property Fund added:
“We’re delighted to have completed the acquisition of 55 Princess Street from Benson Elliot in this off market transaction, which provides the Fund with exposure to the core Manchester office market with good prospects for rental growth.”

Benson Elliot was supported on the asset management of both Templeback and Princess Street by Cube Real Estate. Farmer Capital advised Benson Elliot on the sale of Templeback. Orchard Street Investment Management was advised by Savills and Standard Life Investments was advised by JLL.

UK regional sales over the last 12 months include: Ealing Cross, Cambourne Business Park, CBX II in Milton Keynes, Novotel Edinburgh Park and The Arcadia Centre in Ealing.

ENDS

For further information:
Benson Elliot
Marc Mogull, Managing Partner
Matilda Lane
Matilda.lane@bensonelliot.com
+44 (0) 20 7808 8900

FTI Consulting
Dido Laurimore / Claire Turvey
Dido.laurimore@fticonsulting.com
Claire.turvey@fticonsulting.com
+44(0) 20 37271000

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