Generali Real Estate has made a comeback to the London property market with the acquisition of an office building worth half a billion euros from Blackstone.

The €33bn global real estate management arm of Italian insurer Generali has bought the Times Square building located in Queen Victoria Street on behalf of its pan-European funds Generali Europe Income Holding and SC GF Pierre.

Generali Real Estate said to help finance the deal, it will arrange a loan from a pool of primary lending banks, for financial leverage up to 50%. The manager didn’t disclose the acquisition amount.

According to sources, the asset is being acquired for around €500m. Blackstone acquired the Times Square building in 2015 from Land Securities for £268m.

The 35,000sqm Times Square asset is currently under refurbishment, with completion expected at the end of 2022.

Generali Real Estate said the deal is in line with its strategy of investing in prime assets in the most important, dynamic and resilient cities in Europe.

“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 manager said.

Aldo Mazzocco, the CEO and general manager of Generali Real Estate, said 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.”

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