Malaysia’s lifestyle property development group, Eastern & Oriental Bhd (E&O), has made its third foray into the London property market with the purchase of two offices buildings for £57m.
Three years ago it paid Glasgow City Council £20.25m for Princes House. The Scottish authority made the central London sale as administrator for the Stratclyde Pension Fund. Last year E&O bought the 1919-built ESCA House in Palace Court, Bayswater, through its subsidiary Loxley Holdings Management Ltd.
The latest acquisitions were made by another British Eastern and Oriental subsidiary, Hammersmith Properties Ltd, and involve two vintage Hammersmith office buildings, Landmark House and Thames Tower. The paperwork for the blocks, which offer 135,448sq ft of space between them, is expected to be completed by March.
In a statement E&O said: “The proposed acquisition is consistent with the group’s corporate strategy which includes strengthening its overseas growth engine and to establish the E&O brand internationally.”
The Malaysian investor and developer has always expressed it’s intention to set up an office in London as a means to showcase it’s projects and to explore the business opportunities in the UK. In 2012 managing director Datuk Terry Tham Ka Hon [all correct] said his company was “very excited” by its first overseas property purchase.
Originally constructed in the early 1920’s, Princes House features an impressive Neo-classical stone façade with paned windows. It is situated within Westminster Borough, close to Covent Garden and The Royal Opera House, and has since been converted to 20 private residences and 34 serviced apartments.
E&O is still awaiting planning permission to upgrade ESCA House and its 27,000sq ft of offices and residential units. “Subject to planning permission, our intention is to redevelop the building into a six-level residential development comprising of 28 private residential suites about 36,000sq ft,” Tham said.
Unlike his first two projects, the E&O managing director confirmed he intended to include a commercial element in the Landmark House and Thames Tower upgrades. “Subject to the relevant authority approvals, there is the potential to create Grade A office space and residential accommodation in an area where demand for quality new build property is strong,” he added.
“This prime freehold parcel in the established commercial hub of Hammersmith and represents a significant refurbishment or redevelopment opportunity for E&O in the future.”
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