Residential and mixed-use developer Native Land has returned to site buying with the purchase of two prime freehold properties in Chelsea and in Belgravia for more than £25m. The deals underline the company’s view that the time is right for selective acquisitions.
Native Land, winners of the Property Week/Bank of Scotland Corporate Property Entrepreneur of the Year 2008 award, is committing its prize of a £10m interest free loan to acquiring Chantrey House on Eccleston Street, Belgravia, for £20.75m from Grosvenor.
Built in 1907, the Grade II listed five-storey building was comprehensively redeveloped by Grosvenor in 2003 and currently consists of 28 private residential apartments on floors one to five (30,000 sq ft), nine affordable housing flats on floors one to three in a self-contained part of the building (8,000 sq ft), five ground floor retail units with basement areas (15,000 sq ft) and 18 car parking spaces.
Native Land will retain the building as an investment in the medium term and plans include the creation of a show apartment, refurbishment of common areas and the upgrade of 8 vacant units for letting as soon as possible. Native Land proposes to break up the asset and sell the individual apartments after the three-year funding facility, provided by Bank of Scotland Corporate, has matured.
In a separate cash only deal, Native Land has paid Warner (Music) Group £4.98m for the freehold of Waldron House, a 1970’s five-storey mixed-use building (37,000 sq ft), at 57-63 Old Church Street, Chelsea. It consists of five duplex apartments on third and fourth floors, ten mews houses to the rear, 10,000 sq ft of office space on first and second floors and eleven car parking spaces.
Proposals for Waldron House include a complete refurbishment of the building and its courtyard gardens and the provision of enhanced security systems, creating a prime residential development to be launched in 2010.
Commenting on the acquisitions, Alasdair Nicholls, Chief Executive of Native Land, said:
“It is important to seize opportunity when it arises, particularly when the market favours the buyer. We believe the land market has reached a point where selective buying makes sense again. We are in a strong cash position, having exited the market in 2007 and these purchases mark our return to site buying. We are now very much open to acquiring further opportunities in London’s prime locations.”