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London Property: Canary Wharf Citigroup Tower on sale for US$1.6 billion - China set to buy
The Citigroup Tower in London Docklands’ Canary Wharf has been put on the property market for £1 billion (US$1.6 billion).
The property was sold to Gardenprime Ltd. in July 2007 for £1 billion (US$1.6 billion) as part of a joint venture between Glenn Maud and Derek Quinlan. The forty two storey Citigroup Tower is Britain’s third tallest building and acts as Citigroup’s worldwide headquarters.
After the two Irish entrepreneurs bought the tower in 2007 commercial property values in London nose-dived as a result of the global recession. In fact, between 2007 and 2009 prices in London plummeted by as much as forty four percent.
Sole tenant Citigroup still have twenty four years left to run on their lease, with the current rental income being £47.50 (US$77.3) per square foot. This provides a total income of £57.6 million (US$93.7 million) per annum for the current owners.
“The buyer can expect the annual income return on the initial investment for the 1.22 million square foot office tower to hit near £70 million (US$114 million) within 10 years and over £100 million (US$163 million) within 20 years,” commented a spokesman for real estate agent Jones Lang LaSalle.
According to recent reports, the Citigroup Tower could soon be in the hands of the Chinese. On the 16th April 2011 China’s sovereign wealth fund, China Investment Corporation, announced that it has opened negotiations to buy the tower.
In 2009 China’s sovereign wealth fund, in partnership with the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar and several small investors, paid off a £880 million (US$1.4 billion) loan in return for shares in Songbird Estates, which currently owns sixty nine percent of Canary Wharf.
If the sale goes ahead Maud and Quinlan hope it will set a new record for London Docklands by surpassing the £772.5 million (US$1.2 billion) paid by the South Korean National Pension Service to buy HSBC’s Canary Wharf headquarters two years ago.
HSBC will pay the new owners £46 million (US$ 74.7 million) per year in rent for the remaining seventeen and a half years of their lease. No wonder our bank charges are so outrageously high.
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