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Azerbaijan has recently completed its debut deal in Europe, paying £177 million for a Central London office block. The building is let to HSBC bank until 2023 and consists of 188,600 square feet in the upmarket St James district.
This follows a trend: sovereign wealth funds from Qatar, Malaysia and Norway have spent billions of pounds on offices and shops in Central London in recent years, seeing it as a safe place to park money. Britain’s relatively stable political and legal climate has helped buoy prices for the most sought-after commercial property.
“Offices in St James have proved to be popular with hedge funds and private wealth managers, with office rents reaching £85.00 per square foot at the market’s prime, making offices in St James among the most expensive in the world,’’ comments Rhodri Mason, graduate surveyor at Morgan Pryce, London’s commercial property agent.
Azerbaijan, officially known as the Republic of Azerbaijan, is the largest country in the Caucasus region. Previously known as the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, which was established in 1918, it was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1920. Azerbaijan then regained independence in 1991. The building in St James was bought by the country’s $33 billion state oil fund.
Morgan Pryce is a specialist tenant acquisition agent with offices in Oxford Circus and the City. Morgan Pryce specialises in search, negotiation and project management and works exclusively for tenants.