Irwin Mitchell and Mishcon tap new property clients for £109m Almacantar deal

Irwin Mitchell and Mishcon de Reya have both won lead roles acting for new clients on Almacantar’s £109m purchase of two London midtown properties from Tishman Speyer.

Neil Murray
Neil Murray

Property investment and development company Almacantar bought CAA House and 1 Kemble Street, off Kingsway, from Tishman Speyer for a reported figure of around £109m.

The two inter-connected office buildings span 229,164 sq ft and are both held freehold and leased to the Civil Aviation Authority until December 2019 at £6.2m a year, or roughly £27 per sq ft.

Mishcon advised Almacantar on the deal, with the firm’s team comprising real estate partner Stephen Hughes, corporate partner Ross Bryson and banking partner Mike Bardell.

It was the first time Mishcon had received an instruction from Almacantar, with the company hiring Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer for the purchase of two trophy assets last year, Centre Point Tower for £100m and Marble Arch Tower for £80m (26 September 2011). However, Freshfields real estate partner Chris Morris said the magic circle firm was never Almacantar’s exclusive adviser.

According to Hughes, Mishcon got its foot in the door with Almacantar through its relationship with one of the company’s investment directors who used to work at Delancy, a long-time client of Mishcon.

Almacantar turned to Dechert for Luxembourg advice on the deal.

Irwin Mitchell real estate partner Rob Thompson, who used to work at SJ Berwin with Mishcon’s Hughes, advised seller Tishman Speyer along with corporate partner Edward Persse. This was also Irwin Mitchell’s first instruction from the real estate building and operating company.

Tishman Speyer does not have an official panel and instead works with a number of firms. It was a known client of Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson, which pulled out of the UK real estate market earlier this month after its sole property partner left for King & Spalding (9 July 2012).

Almacantar financed the latest deal with a £60m, three-year loan from Crédit Agricole CIB and Deutsche Postbank, which were advised by Stephenson Harwood finance partner Neil Murray and real estate partner Paul Hayward-Surry. Both are relatively recent hires for the City firm, with Murray joining from Travers Smith in 2010 (3 September 2010) and Hayward-Surry a 2011 recruit from SNR Denton (4 January 2012).