Capital & Counties, which bought London’s Covent Garden market in August, has bought the shops underneath the famous opera house for £127.5m

As tipped by Property Week (27.10.06), CapCo began talks last autumn with the Irish consortium that owns the block, Clarendon Properties and Anglo Irish Bank.

The purchase secures Liberty International-owned CapCo’s position as the largest landlord in the area and adds a significant amount of retail to its Covent Garden market.

The block is let to Nine West, Boots, Fred Perry, Bik Bok and Accessorize and comprises the frontage on James Street, the piazza and also includes two units on Russell Street.

The vendor, Clarendon, which also owns Powerscourt Centre in Dublin, and a group of private clients of Anglo Irish Bank bought the block in 2004 for around £80m.

CapCo paid £421m last August for the Covent Garden market and associated retail, which comprises the 55,000 sq ft (5,110 sq m) piazza, as well as 200,000 sq ft (18,580 sq m) of retail.

Gary Marcuccilli, director at CapCo, said: ‘This block is really the front door into Covent Garden. We have been keen to extend our ownership since the purchase of the market last year and this is an integral part of Covent Garden.

‘It gives us the opportunity to be flexible with retailers and move them around if needed. The Opera House block has the most high-quality and modern units in the area.’

The purchase price represents a 4% initial yield and the block has been bought on four long leaseholds. The rest of the block, containing the Royal Opera House, is owned by the Royal Opera House itself.

EA Shaw, Franc Warwick and Nelson Bakewell advised CapCo.