China Construction Bank Buys London Office Building For $187M

China Construction Bank, which has recently been selected to become the first Chinese bank to provide RMB clearing service in London, has purchased a central London office building at 111 Old Broad Street for around US$186.9 million, according to an announcement.

The Chinese state-owned bank bought the seven-story freehold building with a total area of 122,880 square feet from Belgian bank KBC Bank N.V. The building had recently undergone a major refurbishment and has agreed a lease to retain its occupants.

The City of London has the most densely located financial institutions as well as the largest foreign exchange market in the world. It witnesses US$3.23 trillion foreign exchange turnover each day and 18% of cross-border lending.

"KBC and Knight Frank invested a huge amount of time and effort in refurbishing the building to create an exceptional headquarters office building in the heart of The Square Mile," says Nick Braybrook, head of city investment at Knight Frank, which served as an adviser in the deal.

Last November, China Investment Corporation says it would buy Chiswick Park, a 32-acre London business park, from U.S. private equity group Blackstone Group for about US$1.359 billion.

At the same time, Hong Kong-based private equity real estate firm Gaw Capital Partners says that it has acquired the Waterside House at Paddington in London on behalf of a group of Korean institutional investors.