PFA, TH Real Estate buy London offices from Blackstone for €670m

Denmark’s PFA has linked up with TH Real Estate and US workspace provider WeWork to buy 60,000sqm of mainly office space in London for around DKK5bn (€670m).

The seller is private equity giant Blackstone, according to PFA, which is the second largest pension fund in Denmark.

Blackstone bought the Devonshire Square office and retail complex back in 2012 from Rockpoint and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) for around £340m.

Michael Bruhn, head of real estate at PFA, said: “The investment is part of our international strategy focusing on megatrends such as the sharing economy and flexible solutions.”

The property consists of 13 buildings located in Devonshire Square in the City of London, with the assets divided into 60,000sqm of space, of which 80% is offices and the rest retail.

The three partners will develop the buildings, PFA said, repositioning the property with the help of WeWork’s “live/work/play” concept, to include modern work, events and communal areas.

Bruhn said PFA had experience with the London real estate market, and despite Brexit, the said there was strong growth in the sector for new sharing-based office concepts.

This deal was the pension fund’s first foray into this segment of the market, he said.

“WeWork and TH Real Estate are the best partners within this field, and we look forward to entering a joint venture with them, and the investment will produce a good return for our customers,” Bruhn said.

Tech companies and startups were among the main groups targeted by WeWorks as tenants for its offices, he said.

Eugen Miropolski, chief executive of WeWork in Europe, said his firm was looking forward to helping its partners build on the active community that already existed in “The Square”.

TH Real Estate is a unit of Nuveen, the investment management arm of US financial services group TIAA.

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