Freshfields sells tourist icon Covent Garden

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw have secured key mandates advising on the £420m sale of central London tourist icon Covent Garden.

Freshfields advised long-standing clients Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP) and Henderson Global Investors on the sale of the portfolio of 31 properties totally more than 450,000 sq ft focused around the central piazza.

Covent Garden Market Limited Partnership, a joint venture between SWIP and Henderson, sold the portfolio of properties, including Covent Garden Market, the London Transport Museum and Jubilee Hall, to Capital & Counties.

Mayer Brown real estate partners Peter Sugden and James Dodsworth advised Capital & Counties, a subsidiary of Liberty International.

Freshfields, led by real estate partner David Lewis, previously advised SWIP when it first purchased Covent Garden Market in July 2000, and on subsequent purchases in 2002.

Lewis led the firm’s team on the sale to Capital & Counties, assisted by senior associates Alexander Watt and Debora Henigan. Corporate partner Mark Watterson provided advice on partnership issues.

The transactions cap a busy year for the real estate team at Freshfields, which turned over £51m in 2005-06. Mayer Brown’s UK real estate team had a turnover of more than £9m.