December 15, 2014
Northwood Investors LLC (“Northwood”) has completed the acquisition of more than 7.1 million square feet of office and industrial properties located throughout the regional markets of the United Kingdom (the “Highcross Portfolio”) for £635 million by certain of its affiliates. Formerly owned by property funds managed by Highcross Strategic Advisers Limited (“HSAL”), the Highcross Portfolio includes the UK Land Estates portfolio, held in a 50:50 joint venture with UK Land Estates, consisting of 35 assets (primarily industrial); Broad Gate, a 300,000-square foot Grade A office and ground floor retail building in the city centre of Leeds, Lakeside North Harbour, a 101-acre business campus located in Portsmouth with 600,000 square feet of gross leasable area; Pure Offices, a leading serviced business centre provider with 14 purpose-built centers; and an additional 26 office/industrial assets totaling over 2 million square feet located in core regional cities throughout the United Kingdom.
“We continue to see rapidly improving regional UK fundamentals, supported by rising rental rates, declining tenant incentives and decreasing vacancy which combine to create a compelling entry point”, said John Z. Kukral, Northwood’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
Separately, Northwood also announced the acquisition of HSAL and will merge the platform with Northwood’s existing European platform, Northwood Investors International Ltd. With the transaction’s completion, the Northwood team has grown to 60 professionals focusing on the United Kingdom and Europe. Northwood will retain Highcross’ offices in Newbury, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow. HSAL directors, Mike Megan, Helen Wright and Keith Woods, will continue on to lead Northwood’s regional UK efforts along with Northwood Managing Director, Jerome Anselme.
“The Highcross Portfolio provides us critical mass in the regional UK markets with a difficult-to-replicate countrywide presence and a platform that we can scale with additional acquisitions over time”, added Khaled Kudsi, Senior Managing Director at Northwood. Mike Megan commented, “Northwood was the ideal partner to conclude such a complex transaction. Highcross achieved our business objectives which included the sale of assets owned by two HSAL-managed property funds, liquidity for certain investors and continuity of ownership for other investors seeking to participate in the assets’ anticipated future growth. Northwood shares our vision for the future of the business and our philosophy for UK real estate and together we look forward to working with them to build upon our successful investment platform.”
Accord Capital Partners LLC served as the exclusive financial advisor to Highcross Strategic Advisors Limited. Northwood Investors LLC was self-advised.