Delancey has been quietly buying debt behind one of the largest buildings in the City.

The move could precede an attempt to take control of Plantation Place, the office complex acquired from British Land in March 2006 for £525m by a consortium including the Stobart Group, Tishman International and the Invista Foundation Property Trust.

A deal would be one of the first for Delancey since the beginning of the property downturn last summer. It also marks a return to Plantation Place for Sir John Ritblat, who acquired the site and developed the complex during his 35 years as head of British Land.

Plummeting property prices in the UK have wiped out almost a quarter of the building’s value to about £477m, and left the consortium owner’s loan-to-value ratio at more than 85% against a covenant of 82%.

Financial Times