Pearls Buys Notting Hill

A number of properties in the trendy London neighbourhood of Notting Hill have been purchased by LaSalle Investment Management and the privately (family) owned William Pears company (one of the largest private landlords in the whole of the United Kingdom) at a mammoth cost of a hundred and thirty one million pounds (two hundred and eight million in United States dollars).

Notting Hill Estate, which comprises four and a half acres of mostly commercial properties, including restaurants and retail outlets, as well as a cinema, car parking spaces and executive office space – was sold in a joint venture between real estate investor Delancey and UK REIT Land Securities (LAND L).

“It is very rare that you have an opportunity to purchase an estate of four and a half acres in such a salubrious part of London,” says William Pears property director Jonathon Rose. “There are a number of development, refurbishment and asset management opportunities on the estate which we will exploit. We look forward to working with LaSalle Investment Management.”

The property values of commercial properties in the United Kingdom have risen by almost eight percent so far in 2010, and by nineteen percent since the initial rebound in the June of last year, a boost largely attributed by the price of commercial properties in London itself. That being said, the value of commercial properties still continue to remain some significant amount lower than their peak three years ago in 2007 – around thirty three percent lower, in fact.

The head of special situations at LaSalle Investment Management, Amy Aznar, says of the move to purchase the Notting Hill portfolio that “This investment fits (in) with our strategies of investing in high quality assets in superior locations that offer interesting potential upside through active interest management”.

LaSalle Investment Management was advised by Lewis and Partners, while the William Pears group was advised by CWM. The estate in question is located alongside Kensington Church Street and Notting Hill Gate in west London.

The William Pears Group, together with the Pears Family Trusts, owns investments and properties, and is divided into different investment divisions which are each headed by their own management team of long time company employees and recently recruited investment experts. Its private status allows it to take a long term view when it comes to investments, though major decisions can be made relatively quickly thanks to its financial strength, organisational structure and relatively small board of directors.

LaSalle Investment Management, on the other hand, is one of the biggest real estate investment management companies in the whole world. It has nearly seven hundred employees in around sixteen different countries and manages over forty billion dollars worth of both public and private property equity investments, with a diverse client base comprising private individuals, governments, insurance companies, endowments and private and public pension funds.

It is as yet unclear what developments La Salle Investment Management and the William Pears Group intend to make to the area they have purchased.

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