Wall Street Journal - November 12, 2009
Property developer Tishman Speyer Properties is expected to announce Wednesday that one of its investment funds had acquired the Paris office building that houses the headquarters of AXA Corporate Services for roughly $95 million.
Tishman has acquired the building from SCI Vendome in a sale-and-lease-back arrangement. Located near the Gare Saint-Lazare train station in central Paris, the building has served as corporate headquarters for various units of French insurer and asset manager AXA SA since it was built in 1910. AXA Corporate Services, which is the only tenant, will remain in the building and has agreed to a nine-year lease, Tishman said.
The sale is a sign that Tishman is able to do deals despite the problems it has had with some of its investments in the U.S., such as the CarrAmerica office-building portfolio in Washington, D.C., and the Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village apartment complex in Manhattan. The developer, which owns such landmarks as Rockefeller Center, does many of its deals through investment funds that it has raised.
The 140,000-square-foot office building is being purchased by Tishman Speyer's European Core Fund, which owns office buildings throughout Europe.
The deal, one of the larger office transactions in the French capital this year, is typical of the kind of commercial-office property sought in Paris. The building is in the Haussmannian style, named for the 19th-century city planner who created the characteristic appearance of the buildings in central Paris.
"Financing is hard to come by so it's all about equity players, and everyone is looking for this kind of building," said Vincent Bollaert, partner in the capital-markets unit of property services group Cushman Wakefield in Paris. "This is quite a big deal for Paris."
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