Property EU Article – Ardstone re-enters UK and German markets

Ardstone Capital is looking to selectively re-enter the real estate markets in the UK and Germany after recent sales of assets in London and Brussels.

The boutique European real estate investment manager has transacted over EUR 1.5 bn since 2003, and started selling in 2005, 2006 and 2007 as the markets were seen to be overheating. Ardstone now has EUR 400 mln of assets under management and the company is looking to grow that back to EUR 1 bn over the next two years.

‘We are currently analysing a number of high-quality core-plus and value-add assets in Central London and some very high-grade assets in the key provincial markets in the UK,’ said Donal O’Neill, co-founder and head of investments for Ardstone. ‘In addition, we are actively pursuing high quality core-plus and value-add office portfolios across Western Germany’.

The move to start buying again comes fresh on the heels of the recent sale of Avenue Louise 209a, a prime multi-let office asset in Brussels, for about EUR 8 mln.

When Ardstone Capital took over the asset in early 2008 it was 75% vacant. Ardstone renovated the building and added three new tenants before selling it on to a private Middle Eastern buyer. In January, the company sold the office property 1 Bartholomew Lane in the City of London to Hines. The US asset manager partnered with a sovereign wealth fund on the deal which is reported to have involved an investment volume of around £70 mln.

Ardstone Capital specialises in direct real estate investment with core-plus and value-add characteristics in Western Europe, specifically the UK, France, Germany, and Belgium. It has a local presence in London, Dusseldorf, Paris, Brussels and strategic partner offices in Amsterdam and Barcelona.