Tishman Speyer completes sale of major London office property

Tishman Speyer, one of the world’s leading developers, owners, operators and asset managers of first-class real estate, has sold Smithson Plaza, a mixed-use property in London’s West End, to the real estate investment arm of the Portuguese insurance company Fidelidade.

Tishman Speyer acquired the estate on behalf of its value-add fund, TSEV VII, in March 2016 from The Economist, that had been in occupation since its development. Tishman Speyer then set about obtaining planning permission for a refurbishment of the property and commenced these works in September 2017. The initial phase of these works was completed in June 2018 and Tishman Speyer set about leasing the vacant floors while carrying out further works across all buildings on the estate. The property achieved the highest rents ever in London at the time, of over GBP200 per sq ft, and is now 91 per cent occupied.

Smithson Plaza is a three-building, 81,000-square-foot mixed-use estate located within the core of the St. James’s submarket in London’s famed West End. The property was commissioned as the headquarters for The Economist and stands today as an iconic example of 1960’s modernist architecture. The estate comprises the 14-storey, 52,000 sq ft Smithson Tower office building, the seven-storey, 11,000 sq ft Denham Building (of which 8,500 sq ft is residential accommodation) and the five-storey Bank Building which houses 5,000 sq ft of office space. The estate also encompasses almost 13,000 sq ft of retail, gallery and restaurant space. The Grade II*-listed complex is celebrated architectural duo Alison and Peter Smithson’s last remaining building in London. As the tallest office building in St James’s, Smithson Tower provides spectacular views across central London.

“The entire team at Tishman Speyer is incredibly proud of what it has achieved at Smithson Plaza – a rejuvenated home to an accomplished mix of office, retail and residential tenants. We have taken our responsibility as custodians of this iconic property with the utmost seriousness and trust that our other goal – of welcoming the broader public back into the plaza - continues to stand the test of time,” says Dan Nicholson, Managing Director of Tishman Speyer UK. “This sale marks a further milestone for Tishman Speyer in the London office market, a success story which began over 20 years ago. It also represents an important milestone for this particular fund, this being the last asset from this closed- ended vehicle to be sold and we are delighted to execute this exit as it substantially crystallises the performance of the fund, which is projected to successfully deliver its net target return to investors.”