Tishman Speyer and Westbrook to buy City and Midtown trophies

US investors were the most active fund managers in London over the Christmas period.

Westbrook and Tishman Speyer placed a total of £400m of property under offer.

Westbrook is poised to buy one of the largest buildings in the City for around £280m from the Libyan government, while Tishman Speyer has acquired Midtown trophy CAA House for around £135m.

Westbrook is in talks to buy the 380,000 sq ft (35,302 sq m) Beaufort House from Lafico, the investment arm of the Libyan government, in St Botolph’s Lane in the Aldgate area of the City. The office building is multi-let, and tenants include Credit Suisse and law firm Richards Butler.

Lafico bought the building in 1993 in the largest City transaction that year, from Norwich Union for around £130m, at a yield of around 11.5%.

Westbrook, Lafico and James Andrew International, which manages the offices, would not comment on the purchase.

Tishman Speyer bought the 160,000 sq ft (14,864 sq m) CAA House on Kingsway and adjacent 64,000 sq ft (5,945 sq m) 1 Campbell Street as the second London asset for its Tishman Speyer European Real Estate Venture VI Fund from an Irish investment group.

CAA House is fully let to the Civil Aviation Authority, which sublets to three other tenants. It produces around £6m a year, equating to £28/sq ft (£301.40/sq m), and there is a rent review in 2009.

Mark Kingston, managing director and head of Tishman Speyer’s UK business, said: ‘It is a big block of freehold real estate in an area that is really taking off. The rent review is highly attractive and, with our 180,000 sq ft Centrium office building, we are creating a real pocket of value in the area.’

Bids were also invited for the £600m Merrill Lynch headquarters before Christmas and a consortium of Irish investors is believed to be among the frontrunners.

Also over Christmas, the Palmer Capital Partners-backed investor and developer Walbrook Land bought 154-156 Fenchurch Street and 13-16 Cullum Street in the City for £21.5m.