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UK council, Morgan Sindall form £1B JV; Hines to spend €400M on German logistics

* Morgan Sindall Group PLC and the Brentwood Borough Council are forming a 50/50 joint venture with a potential contract value of up to £1 billion for property developments in the borough in Essex, U.K. The projects will consist of new homes, mixed-use developments, public spaces and commercial and leisure facilities on the council's land portfolio.

* Hines is planning to invest roughly €400 million in the German logistics market over the next 18 to 24 months. The company has made its first acquisition under the new strategy, when it bought a 36,000-square-meter logistics complex in Maintal, close to Frankfurt, for the Hines Global Income Trust fund.

The DHL-let property was acquired from private investors Werner Gutperle and Jürgen B. Harder.

UK and Ireland

* LondonMetric Property PLC sold two logistics warehouses in the U.K. for an aggregate of £67.0 million to Exeter Property Group LLC. The 527,000-square-foot former Poundworld-leased property in Wakefield was divested for £43.5 million, and the 335,000-square-foot Sheffield asset was disposed of for £23.5 million.

* A joint venture between developer Mitsubishi Estate London Ltd., development manager Stanhope and construction manager LendLease Group has kick-started the construction of the 50-story 8 Bishopsgate in the City of London, Construction Enquirer reported. The £300 million project is scheduled for completion in late 2022.

* U.K. grocers J Sainsbury PLC and Asda Stores Ltd. offered to close between 125 and 150 stores in order to gain regulatory approval for their merger. The Competition and Markets Authority asked the two companies "to sell off a significant number of stores and other assets — potentially including one of the Sainsbury's or Asda brands — to recreate the competitive rivalry lost through the merger."

* Irish Residential Properties REIT PLC agreed to forward purchase 118 houses in the Balbriggan and Donabate suburbs of County Dublin from a subsidiary of Glenveagh Properties PLC for a total of €38.2 million.

* Build-to-rent developers are taking a stand against the proposed changes to the London Plan, which would require them to include social housing in their development projects, Property Week reported. In a public session organized by the Greater London Authority, representatives from the British Property Federation, Greystar and Get Living London argued that providing social housing will be opposite to their single management rental model, the report added.

* Developer St. Modwen Properties PLC began work on the second phase of its speculative development at the St. Modwen Park Tamworth site. The company had secured approval for a 318,500-square-foot industrial and logistics facility, its largest-ever speculative project, with completion slated in December.


* COIMA SGR SpA acquired a 35,000-square-meter building in Milan for €130 million via its COIMA Opportunity Fund II. Deka Immobilien Europa was the seller of Telecom Italia's former headquarters at Via Pirelli 35 in the Porta Nuova district.


* Asset manager BlackRock Real Assets disposed of the 28,000-square-meter Lyoner Stern office property in the Niederrad district of Frankfurt from its German value-add portfolio, REFI Europe reported.


* Union Investment bought a 9,700-square-meter building close to the Louvre Museum in central Paris for its open-ended UniImmo: Deutschland fund for an unknown sum. The 40 Rue du Louvre asset was divested by French real estate company Oreima on behalf of the FOSCA II fund.


* Wihlborgs Fastigheter AB agreed to lease 8,200 square meters of office space at its Elefanten 40 in central Malmö to the medical, health and social care administration of the city. Current tenant Swedish Customs will move out of the property in the second quarter, after which the City of Malmö will move in on Nov. 1 following the property's refurbishment.

Other real estate news

* Brazil-based Aliansce Shopping Centers SA said its controlling shareholders have only signed nonbinding term of understandings comprising preliminary agreements with the controlling shareholders of Sonae Sierra Brasil SA. The clarification was provided in response to a March 21 report from Valor Pro, which noted that the company was close to a business combination deal with the company's local peer.

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