* Diversified real estate company DIC Asset AG acquired two office properties in Germany. In Berlin, it bought a roughly 10,100 square-meter building in the borough of Mitte for roughly €111 million. The property, which also contains 38 parking spaces, is fully leased to Deutsche Kreditbank AG with a remaining lease term of 5.1 years. Asset manager Real I.S. AG sold the property on behalf of Bayernfonds Immobilienverwaltung Objekt Berlin Taubenstraße KG. Transfer of ownership is expected to occur in the fourth quarter.
In Bremen, a DIC special fund paid approximately €31 million for the roughly 5,000-square-meter Am Brill building and the roughly 12,200-square-meter Am Wall office complex. Am Brill is roughly 80% occupied by blue-chip tenants including insurance and logistics companies. Am Wall is mostly vacant and DIC plans to refurbish it in the coming months. Transfer of ownership is scheduled for the third quarter.
* According to JLL, central London saw roughly 2.8 million square feet of offices leased in the second quarter, largely unchanged from a year ago and up 25% over first-quarter volumes. The level of space under offer rose 16% to more than 3.7 million square feet.
During the three-month period, the supply of office space rose for a second straight quarter to 11.5 million square feet, causing an uptick in vacancy rates which stood at 4.9%. Around 2.0 million square feet of speculative space broke ground in the second quarter, marking its highest level for more than a decade, JLL added.
* Sanjeev Gupta-owned Wyelands Bank acquired an office building on Maddox Street in London's Mayfair district for £64 million, Financial Times reported, citing the bank's annual results and accounts filed at Companies House on Aug. 9. Gupta's GFG Alliance occupies five floors of the six-floor asset, according to the report.
* Gatwick Airport will spend £1.1 billion to improve its infrastructure over a five-year period through to 2024, Construction Enquirer reported. The plans will involve the addition of six new departure gates with retail outlets at North Terminal's Pier 6, resurfacing of the main runway, and construction of a new rapid exit taxiway, as well as a car park with 3,250 spaces. Costain was tapped to work on the £190 million overhaul of the railway station, according to the publication.
* Bovis Homes Group PLC is planning to build a £195 million residential project at a former farming site in Twigworth comprising 471 private units and 254 affordable homes, Property Week reported, citing Mark Slater, land director at the British homebuilder. Amenities will include nursery, primary and secondary school developments, and sports and leisure facilities, along with highway improvements. Construction of the homes will start in the spring of 2020.
* Future Generation landed a £62 million loan from Maslow Capital for the Guilden Park student accommodation project in Guildford, its largest development to date, according to Property Week. Planning permission is in place for the project comprising a six-story building with 533 beds expected to be operational by the start of the 2021 academic year, the publication added.
* Irish retailer Applegreen PLC has hired consultants to review plans for a portfolio of U.K. hotels it acquired in 2018 as part of the deal for a 55% stake in motorway service operator Welcome Break, Applegreen CEO Niall Dolan told the Irish Independent. Dolan said the company would make a decision for the 29 hotels in the coming weeks. The hotels operate under the Ramada and Days Inn brands.
* German apartment owners are facing leaner returns amid Berlin's plans to freeze rents. The combined market value of the country's 60 publicly listed apartment owners fell by roughly $8 billion in the three months to June 30, reflecting a 7% decline quarter over quarter, the worst among European countries, Bloomberg News reported, citing data compiled by the European Public Real Estate Association. Deutsche Wohnen SE emerged as one of the biggest losers, with its shares dropping by roughly 25% since Berlin announced its rent-cap plans in June.
The newswire added that the likely effect of the legislation would only be ascertained when Berlin's senate finalizes the details in October. The cap is expected to be implemented in January.
* The requirements of workplaces in Saudi Arabia are transitioning to flexible coworking spaces from long-term commitments in traditional office spaces, Arabian Business reported, citing joint research by Monsha'at and Strategy&. The report said coworking, a relatively new concept in the Gulf region, presents a major opportunity for investors as demand for such spaces increase while availability is limited and rents are high.
Kerten Hospitality recently launched its Ouspace coworking concept in Jeddah, and has plans to open sites in Riyadh and Dubai.
Other real estate news
* Swiss flexible workspace provider IWG PLC is selling its Taiwanese operations to TKP Corp. and entered into an exclusive master franchise agreement for the country, marking its second strategic partnership with the Japanese meeting room rentals company.
Under the master franchise agreement, Tokyo-based TKP will have exclusive rights to use the HQ, Regus and Spaces brands in Taiwan and to continue managing centers under the IWG brands and operating platform. The transaction is set to close in September, subject to approval by the Taiwanese Investment Commission of the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
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