GLOBAL - Rockspring Property Investment Managers has made the first acquisition for its new pan-European real estate mandate awarded by the National Pension Service (NPS) of Korea.

Central London office building 63 St Mary's Axe was bought for £23.75m (€27.6m) from Threadneedle and will be the first asset for NPS European Property LP, a pan-European discretionary core-plus mandate.

Rockspring has been investing directly in the UK on behalf of NPS since 2009, but last year the pension fund committed a further €400m to be invested on a pan-European basis.

With leverage, Rockspring has approximately €900m in investment capacity and will look to invest across all commercial real estate sectors - from mature western European markets to more emerging markets of central Europe - targeting returns in excess of 10%.

Located in the heart of the City of London, 63 St Mary Axe was originally constructed in 1989 for Eagle Star and then substantially reconstructed in 1992.

The property comprises a self-contained office building with approximately 72,000 square feet of space and is arranged over two basement levels, ground and six upper floors.

Two ancillary retail units are also located at ground floor level fronting Houndsditch. The property is currently multi-let to nine tenants at an average office rent of circa £28 per square foot.

Robert Gilchrist, chief executive at Rockspring, said: "This well-located asset, let off low average rents, offers immediate asset management opportunities and potential for fuller refurbishment prospects in the medium term.

"We see this as an excellent first investment for the programme, and we will continue to source acquisitions across Europe, particularly in our key target sectors of office and retail."