AXA Investment Managers – Real Assets acquires the tallest building in France
AXA Investment Managers – Real Assets , the leading real estate portfolio and asset managers in Europe, announced that it has exchanged contracts for the acquisition from BCSP CE Lux I Sarl and BCSP CE Lux III Sarl, affiliates of Beacon Capital Partners, of the Tour First office tower, which is the tallest building in France and is located in the La Défense business district of Paris, via a share deal.
AXA IM – Real Assets has undertaken the acquisition on behalf of a club of investors seeking investments into core European real estate assets. The club comprises a group of investors managed by AXA IM – Real Assets, together with Assurances du Crédit Mutuel. Through utilising its on-the-ground knowledge and proven track record of sourcing core European landmark assets, AXA IM – Real Assets was able to use its in-depth relationships and ability to pool together investors to successfully source and agree to acquire Tour First.
This iconic building is 231 meters high and comprises over 80,000 sqm (863,500 sqft) of prime office space across 44 office floors. Tour First is currently 83% let on long leases to two global blue-chip companies and has achieved both a LEED Gold rating and a HQE/THPE certification, underpinning the commitment to sustainable design.
Originally built in 1974, the tower was sold for 50% to Beacon Capital Partners by AXA IM – Real Assets on behalf of one of its clients in 2007. AXA IM – Real Assets and Beacon Capital Partners then undertook a comprehensive €300 million re-development programme between 2007 and 2011 which was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF), with Saubot-Rouit Associés (SRA) as associate architects, and included the addition of an extra 74 metres in height, the implementation of flexible and efficient floorplates, as well as theprovision of a wide range of amenities. Upon completion of the redevelopment in 2011, Beacon acquired full ownership of the building via a share deal.
AXA IM – Real Assets has been advised by De Pardieu Brocas Maffei, Etude Cheuvreux, Deloitte and Egis. Beacon Capital Partners has been advised by Linklaters, Etude Wargny Katz, Cairn, Taj, Debevoise and EY.
Commenting on the transaction, Pierre Vaquier, CEO of AXA IM – Real Assets, said: “Having redeveloped the tower between 2007 and 2011, we believe Tour First is now recognised as one of the most striking office towers in one of Europe’s foremost business districts. This transaction demonstrates our continued ability to bring together ‘clubs’ of leading international investors in the acquisition of landmark realestate assets and to position investments in coherence with market cycles. This transaction also represents a substantial investment in the European office market and matches our clients’ exacting requirements for high quality core assets. It demonstrates our confidence in the strength and prospects of the Paris office market.”
Over the last 15 years, AXA IM – Real Assets has successfully developed over 250 projects in six European countries for a total of €11.1 billion and has €10.8 billion current projects under development (as of end Sept 2015).