Hong Kong’s C C Land To Acquire London’s Tallest Building For $1.48B

The Leadenhall Building, middle, viewed from afar.

Hong Kong real estate firm C C Land Holdings Ltd., run by Chinese property tycoon Cheung Chung-kiu, has agreed to buy the Leadenhall Building, London’s tallest building, for £1.14 billion (US$1.48 billion).

The deal is the biggest sale of a single building in the U.K. since 2014, when the HSBC tower in Canary Wharf was sold to Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund for £1.18 billion. It is also one of the biggest Chinese purchases of British property.

C C Land is buying 100% of the 46-floor skyscraper from the building’s developer British Land and its joint venture partner Oxford Properties, the global property arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System.

The price of £1.135 billion includes the assumption of the building’s existing debt, worth £364.3 million, according to a disclosure filing released by Hong Kong-listed C C Land.

The commercial tower, which is 224-meters tall, with approximately 610,000 square feet of office and retail space, currently has tenants including a number of major international insurance companies as well as financial institutions, technology, and professional service businesses.

It is popularly known as the "Cheesegrater" because of its shape, and its current annual rental income is approximately £40.2 million (US$51.9 million).

CC Land said the acquisition of the building was in line with the group’s business strategy to invest in quality property developments in mature cities globally. The Leadenhall Building, completed in 2014, is an iconic building situated in the prime financial and insurance districts of London, it said.

"The Leadenhall Building is a world class skyscraper and office tower boasting an impressive lease portfolio commanding strong recurring rentals and will be held by the group as an investment property for long term capital growth. It is expected that the Leadenhall Building will generate a stable and strong recurrent income," said the announcement.

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