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This week The Guardian reported on the acquisition by a German landlord of almost £2 billion of prime London property.
The fact in itself is not particularly newsworthy, but many of the properties he has added to his portfolio are landmark sites in the city, such as Liberty department store, Kensington Roof Gardens, Manchester United’s London offices, the art nouveau House of Fraser flagship store, and the Strand’s Shell Mex House, making the German one of the capital’s biggest investors in recent times.
The man in question, Henning Conle, reportedly owns 10,000 properties in Germany, but is less than popular due to an alleged lack of interest in the properties themselves, particularly in terms of maintenance. Hamburg media apparently labelled him ‘the Phantom’ in the 1990s because of his inclination to remain a somewhat absent landlord of the 2,500 flats he owned in the city.
Mr Conle’s company is called Sirosa, and clearly has a lot of funding behind it. The company beat off competition from Qatar Investment Authority in the purchase of Kensington Roof Gardens, while other deals range from £41 million to a reported £610 million. However, despite the amount spent, it is likely that, given the recent price rises in London, Conle and his company will have already benefited from their capital investment and rising prices.
Despite reported complaints by tenants in his native country as to the care and repair of the flats they rent from him, in a quote to the newspaper, Conle responded: ‘There are no significant allegations regarding conscious negligence or illegal methods.’ It is true, also, that neglect of such iconic and period properties in the centre of London would be much more difficult to achieve.
This news was brought to you by Morgan Pryce, 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. Click here to start your office search