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Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), HowardKennedyFSI and Mayer Brown have advised on New York-based Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation’s purchase of London’s Old Spitalfields Market for £105m, in a deal referred to as the UK capital’s largest retail investment this year.
Ashkenazy, a private real estate investment group focusing on retail and office assets, bought the Grade II-listed retail hub from Irish property company Ballymore, which acquired the space in 1998 for £8m. The Dublin-based group spent the decade up to 2008 carrying out a £25m redevelopment of the market before putting it up for sale in April.
The Mayer Brown team acting for Ashkenazy was led by global real estate head Jeremy Clay and real estate investment head Chris Harvey, who joined the US firm from CMS Cameron McKenna last year.
BLP advised Ballymore with a team led by real estate partner Claire Milton, with support from partner Bonnie Mahler, senior associate Sarah Key and associate director Michelle Wein. Partner Marc Hanson and associate Kar Lai Payne advised on construction issues. Partner Vicky Fowler and associate Robert Gowing assisted on planning.
BLP was assisted in its role for Ballymore by HowardKennedyFSI partner Kate Woodgate and solicitor Stella Meytanis, with chartered surveyors Coady Supple also advising the seller.
The deal is the largest retail investment in London this year, according to data compiled by real estate group Cushman & Wakefield.
Background to this deal:
Ashkenazy has acquired over 13 million sq ft of retail, office and residential properties across the US and Canada. The company’s portfolio currently comprises more than 100 buildings valued at about $5bn (£3.2bn) including Boston’s Fanueil Hall, Baltimore’s Harbor Place and Washington’s Union Station.
Ballymore has been selling off assets to raise cash in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. In January its UK arm reported losses of £372m for last year.
The Old Spitalfields Market property was reportedly put on the market in April for £90m. However, prices in the area have boomed thanks to its prime London location in the so-called ‘Silicon Roundabout’ and Liverpool Street station.