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Morgan Stanley Makes £100M+ Profit On London Office Sale

 Morgan Stanley Makes £100M+ Profit On London Office Sale
Premier Place in the City of London

Morgan Stanley’s real estate investment business has turned a profit that could be as high as £140M from a London office bet it made in the midst of Brexit uncertainty (remember that?).

A fund managed by Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing has sold Premier Place, a 230K SF office building in the City of London, to CBRE Global Investors and Malaysia’s Employee Provident Fund for £325M. It is the first deal in London by the Malaysian fund in more than five years. 

Morgan Stanley bought Premier Place from RBS in 2017 for £145M. RBS had previously occupied the building but departed, leaving it vacant. At that point, there was no certainty how the London office market would fare in the wake of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. 

Morgan Stanley teamed up with Greycoat to undertake a comprehensive refurbishment of the building and lease it. The building was fully leased to asset managers Jane Street and Gartner in 2018 at rents of around £60 per SF. The average lease length for the building is more than 15 years.

Average refurbishment costs for offices in London are about £140/SF, according to Cushman & Wakefield. That would put the cost of the refurbishment at around £30M. 

This figure would put Morgan Stanley’s outlay on the building at around £175M, meaning a sale at £325M represents a profit of about £140M in the space of three years.