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£420M Post-Pandemic Office Purchase Is Not Actually About Offices

The offices being sold by AEW front on to the Slough Trading Estate, with the area already hosting several data centres.

One of the largest UK office deals since the start of the coronavirus pandemic is in the final stages and the potential purchaser is a company that wants to build something other than offices.

AEW is in talks to sell a 1M SF portfolio of offices in Slough, to the west of London, to a data centre operator for around £420M, CoStar reported. 

The office campus, called Bath Road Central, is next door to the Slough Trading Estate, the massive industrial estate owned by Segro. The area is already home to several data centres, and draws interest because of its proximity to London. 

AEW bought the estate in 2015 for £325M, a 5.6% yield, in a deal backed by Australian pension fund AustralianSuper and Japanese investor Norinchukin Bank.

The largest office deal since the pandemic in the UK also involves assets where traditional office tenants are not the main appeal of the deal. Brookfield paid TPG £714M for business park owner Arlington earlier this year. Arlington's portfolio has a significant proportion of life sciences occupiers.