LONDON Jan 9 Korea Investment
Corporation, South Korea's sovereign wealth fund, bought an
office block opposite the Bank of England for about 75 million
pounds ($116 million), its first foray into the perceived safe
haven of the London property market.
In a deal completed days before Christmas, KIC bought the
80,000 square feet block at 1 Bartholomew Lane, in which it
occupies the top floor, in a deal that will see U.S. developer
Hines act as the asset manager, a source told Reuters.
The building, currently about one-third let, is also
occupied by Agricultural Bank of China and China's Bank of
Interest from Far Eastern investors in London property has
boomed in the past few years due to the need to diversify
burgeoning wealth reserves beyond their own relatively small
Asian investors bought 1.85 billion pounds worth of British
property last year, a 24 percent rise on 2010, data from
property research group Real Capital Analytics showed.
"Investors like safe havens in liquid markets with strong
fiscal regimes hence the attraction of London for deals like
this," said Ciaran Burns, a director at real estate investor
Ardstone Capital, which sold the building.
Burns declined to confirm the identity of the buyer.
KIC was not immediately available to comment.
($1 = 0.6490 pound)
(Reporting by Tom Bill. Editing by Chris Wickham and Jane