Pictet Alternative Advisors acquires Grade A office portfolio in Manchester

Pictet Alternative Advisors has acquired three core office assets in Manchester, in partnership with XLB Property. 

The deal comprises three listed freehold Victorian former warehouse buildings offering value-add opportunities, in core locations in Manchester, secured at a net initial yield of 6.2 per cent. The assets total 362k sq ft and are partially refurbished Grade A period assets.

This deal seeks to capitalise on opportunities arising in the UK market ahead of anticipated volatility, induced by the pandemic and Brexit among others. The assets are equipped to mitigate mid-term volatility, offering post-pandemic appeal thanks to their future-proof characteristics, such as individual HVAC systems and low building heights, negating the necessity for lifts. The city of Manchester is witnessing unabated population and employment growth, and in terms of the location, central Manchester vacancy for Grade A spaces stands at 2.2 per cent. 

Charlie Baigler, Head of Acquisitions, Real Estate at Pictet Alternative Advisors, says: “This is an exciting purchase for the investment strategy of Pictet Alternative Advisors. The Manchester office market has proven to be extremely resilient, with excellent supply and demand fundamentals. Manchester is attracting and retaining talented young professionals, the city is now the largest tech hub in the UK outside of London, and is proving to be a significant beneficiary of ‘northshoring’. The quality and location of the assets ensures strong downside protection against the anticipated market volatility ahead. Our partnership with XLB Property ensures the highest standards in technology enabled property management, with a strong focus on ESG.”

PAA’s operating partner on this strategy, XLB Property, is a privately owned boutique real estate asset manager, development manager and project manager, specialising in office and industrial assets across the UK.

Tony Lawson, partner at XLB, says: “We are hugely excited to be working alongside Pictet Alternative Advisors on the acquisition of these three great buildings. The prospects for the Manchester economy are strong and the City has one of the most vibrant CBD’s in Europe. These buildings are extremely well placed to benefit from that.”

This purchase follows a flurry of deals for Pictet in the UK, following the acquisitions of five last-mile logistics assets and two residential towers since the beginning of the year. 

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