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Potential £1.3B Sales Would Reduce Oxford Properties' Exposure To London Offices

The Post Building

Oxford Properties is considering selling stakes in two major London office schemes worth a combined £1.3B or more, as the Canadian pension fund shifts its focus away from London offices.

Oxford Properties and Brookfield are weighing options, which could include a refinancing or sale, for London Wall Place, according to Estates Gazette. The scheme comprises two buildings: a 310K SF building fully let to Schroders and valued at around £450M, and a 190K SF multi-let building which is close to being fully let and valued at £250M. 

Brookfield acquired the scheme when it bought Hammerson’s London office portfolio in June 2012, and a month later brought in Oxford as 50:50 joint venture partner. The JV could sell one or both buildings separately or sell them as a pair, EG said.

An Oxford JV is also reviewing its options at another more recently completed development. Oxford and Brockton have drafted in JLL to advise on a sale or refinancing of the 300K SF Post Building in Midtown, according to CoStar

The building could be worth £600M to £700M, CoStar said. It is fully let ahead of opening later this year, with tenants being McKinsey, Rothesay Life and Nationwide.

In the UK, Oxford has been shifting its focus away from the London offices with which it made its name and toward build to rent and logistics.

In the past few years Oxford has sold the Cheesegrater, in which it owned a 50% stake, for £1.2B plus stakes in MidCity Place, Paternoster Square and Watermark Place, raising another £6M, for a total of £1.2B for all four sales.

It also sold the Green Park business park in Reading to Mapletree Investments for £563M in 2016. Its office holdings still include the St James’s Market scheme, developed in a joint venture with the Crown Estate, and the Blue Fin building on the South Bank.

It has reinvested the proceeds in offices in Berlin and Paris, but has also entered into new sectors in the UK. In 2018 it formed a joint venture with Delancey to invest an initial £600M in UK BTR assets. In the same year it invested in a UK and European logistics fund managed by Gazeley.

And it has expanded beyond Europe and North America. In 2017 European head Paul Brundage’s remit was expanded to include investments in Asia, and last year it made a significant investment in the Sydney office market, buying the A$3.4B (£1.9B) Investa Office Fund.