Songbird Estates, the majority owner of Canary Wharf in London, has sold one of its towers for £153.5m to a prominent Hong Kong investor.
Songbird has exchanged contracts for the sale of 50 Bank Street to Crosby Investment Holdings, owned by Vivien Chen, who as chairman of the Nan Fung group runs one of the biggest business dynasties in Hong Kong. She took control of the conglomerate in 2009 after her father, founder Chen Din Hwa, fell ill with Alzheimer’s.
The 11-storey office building at Bank Street, which is mostly let to asset management firm Northern Trust until 2022, generates annual rent of £8.58m.
There has been a steady flood of Asian capital into London property in recent years, with yields higher than in Hong Kong and Singapore. BNP Paribas Real Estate calculates that 88% of investment turnover in the City last year came from overseas investors, of which a fifth was from far eastern institutions.
Andrew Cruickshank, senior director of international investment at BNP Paribas Real Estate, said: “Although we have noted more competitive inquiries from the Middle Eastern investors, it still appears that Asian capital (from previously active nations such as Korea, China and Malaysia – and new entrants from Indonesia and Taiwan) will continue to dominate.”
For its part, Songbird will use the sale proceeds to help fund its eastern extension of Canary Wharf, the revamp of the South Bank around the Shell Centre Tower, and the construction of the 58-floor Newfoundland tower on the western edge of Canary Wharf.
Nicknamed the Diamond Tower, it is Songbird’s first residential building in the finance district, which houses the headquarters of some of the world’s biggest banks, including Barclays and HSBC. Songbird is also building more than 3,000 homes at Wood Wharf on the eastern edge of Canary Wharf, ranging from parkside townhouses to towers.
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