Alan Sugar exchanges contracts to buy Threepenny Bit

By James Buckley - Monday, June 11, 2012 15:40

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Alan Sugar’s Amsprop has exchanged contracts to buy the Threepenny Bit development by St Paul’s Cathedral, CoStar News can reveal.

Sugar’s property company exchanged on the deal on Friday, and has agreed to pay Kuwaiti property company St Martins £20.75m for the building at 5 Cheapside, EC2.

The transaction is due to complete during the first week of July, and the price represents a capital value of over £600 per sq ft – one of the highest prices ever paid for a predominantly vacant office property in the City of London.

CoStar News first revealed last month that Amsprop had gone under offer to buy the 35,000 sq ft 5 Cheapside, beating a shortlist of heavyweight investors.

St Martins instructed Savills to sell 5 Cheapside in February. The building attracted 50 viewings and around 15 bids, which were submitted by the likes of PRUPIM and Allied London. The property is highly sought after because of its prime location above St Paul’s station and 360 degree views of London.

US firm Tishman Speyer and a hotel joint venture both made it to the final round of bidding, before being informed that they had been unsuccessful.

Amsprop is Lord Sugar’s privately owned real estate vehicle, which has been building a property portfolio since 1985, with a focus on ultra-prime central London and core City of London freehold properties.

US giant Apple was also rumoured to have considered 5 Cheapside for a quirky City store, attracted by the building’s octagonal shape.

The Threepenny Bit was mooted for a seven-storey 110,000 sq ft John McAslan & Partners-designed scheme, although a redevelopment is now unlikely, with refurbishment thought to be the favoured option for the new owner.

5 Cheapside is the final building to be sold from St Martins’ £900m Project Blue portfolio. Other properties in the sell-off included several offices spread across the UK. In London, these included West 45 in Hammersmith, W6, and Gateway and Oriel Houses, both in Richmond, Surrey.

Five shopping centres, including Centrale in Croydon and Kings Mall, W6, and three retail parks in Rugby, Warwickshire, Chelmsford, Essex and Folkestone, Kent - were also included, alongside a number of industrial estates.

All parties declined to comment.

jbuckley@costar.co.uk

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