Nabarro guides Great Portland on purchase of Royal Mail site

Nabarro has become Great Portland Estates’ go-to firm as the developer continues to snap up prime central London real estate.

Deborah Parry
Deborah Parry

Most recently Nabarro has advised Great Portland on its £120m purchase of Royal Mail’s Rathbone Place sorting office. Ashurst acted for seller Royal Mail Group.

In a deal that has been touted as a fillip for both sides, Great Portland will purchase the freehold on the 2.3 acre property with £120m in cash, equating to a value of £313 per sq ft. It will then let the depot back to Royal Mail until June 2013 for a reported net rent of £4.6m.

Once the facility is ­vacated, Great Portland is planning to embark on a mixed-use development project reportedly including retail, residential and office space, tipped to be one of the biggest seen in the West End in recent years.

The two companies announced they exchanged contracts on 12 September.

Ashurst was led by real estate partner Simon Cookson, assisted by real estate solicitor Sarah Watkinson and tax partner Simon Swann. Cookson is set to join DLA Piper (The, 9 September)

Real estate partner Deborah Parry led for Nabarro.

Great Portland is proving a valuable client for Nabarro. In April the developer raised £160m on the international bond market to pursue investments in central London, and also instructed Nabarro on its agreed deal to buy 200 & 214 Gray’s Inn Road – a grade A office block leased to four tenants, most notably ITN – for £132.75m from an affiliate of US fund Beacon Capital.

Great Portland used its 50:50 joint venture vehicle with BP Pension Fund, known as the Great Ropemaker Partnership, to buy the properties from Beacon.

Nabarro was led by real estate partner Caroline Maude. Partner Simon Rose advised on the tax aspects of the deal.

Linklaters advised ­Beacon, led by real estate ­partner Patrick Plant.