Asset adviser Hermes Investment Management has made its second multi-million pound purchase in Croydon this year.
Last month the British Telecom Pension Fund vehicle acquired the South London town’s only dedicated dining and leisure complex, when it paid Aberdeen Asset Management £33m for Grants Entertainment Centre.
The City-based firm, which also has an office in Singapore, has now spent £36m to buy One Croydon from a joint venture between Wainbridge Global Opportunities London and Princeton Investments. Designed by famed architect Richard Seifert, the landmark building offers 170,271sq ft of Grade A office space over 23 floors.
Located next to East Croydon Railway Station, the tower has recently undergone an extensive internal and external upgrade which, Hermes chief executive Chris Taylor confirmed, was a big influence on his funds decision to buy the office block.
“The acquisition of One Croydon is consistent with our long-term investment approach seeking to capture the benefits from major urban regeneration programmes in the UK’s key strategic commercial centres,” said Taylor.
“Croydon Town Centre is undergoing significant regeneration with major new regional shopping and leisure facilities, enhanced public realm, new urban housing and excellent transport infrastructure.
“We believe One Croydon will benefit from its pivotal position at the heart of the town’s exciting future as a dynamic commercial centre close to Central London,” he added.
Completed in 1970, the distinctively shaped One Croydon — formerly the Noble Lowndes Annuities Tower — has been known by various nicknames over the years; the most popular have been the Fifty-Pence Building, the Wedding Cake and Threepenny Bit building, due to its resemblance to a number of threepence coins stacked on top of each other. Despite a previous £3.5m refurbishment in the late 2000s it was branded by Channel 4 as one of the UK’s top eyesores.
In a parallel deal, commercial agents Stiles Harold Williams and Savills have let two floors of One Croydon to Sussex Innovation Centre, a sub-department of the University of Sussex. The 14,472 sq ft letting tops off what local agents confirm has been one of the busiest years in the town’s office market since 2007.