Ascott to invest $100.4m to buy prime London property in tie-up with Qatar state fund

Artist’s impression of The Ascott's serviced residence, Citadines Islington London.
Artist’s impression of The Ascott's serviced residence, Citadines Islington London.PHOTO: THE ASCOTT LTD

SINGAPORE - CapitaLand's wholly owned serviced residence business unit, The Ascott Ltd, is acquiring a prime property in the heart of Islington, London, through its serviced residence global fund with Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).

Ascott will invest a total of £52 million (S$100.4 million) in the 108-unit property which will be named Citadines Islington London, the company announced on Thursday (April 28).

Citadines Islington London is the US$600 million fund's third investment, some five months after its maiden acquisition of two properties in Paris and Tokyo in November 2015.

Said Ascott chief executive officer Lee Chee Koon: "Ascott's fund with QIA provides the financial boost to support our acquisitions and growth as Ascott gears up to achieve our global target of 80,000 apartment units by 2020. Making our third acquisition within five months is a testament to Ascott's strong alignment of interest with our capital partners.

"The addition of Citadines Islington London will strengthen Ascott's position as one of the largest international serviced residence operators in Europe, with an asset size of over S$1.5 billion. Our portfolio in the region will increase to more than 5,300 units in 45 properties across France, United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Georgia and Spain. We aim to double our portfolio in Europe to 10,000 units by 2020."

Set up through a 50:50 joint venture with QIA in July 2015, the fund is Ascott's largest private equity fund. It invests in serviced residences and rental housing properties with an initial focus on Asia Pacific and Europe.

Mr Alfred Ong, Ascott's managing director for Europe, said the Citadines Islington London is scheduled to open in 2019. It is close to London's West End, the United Kingdom's premier entertainment quarter and Europe's largest shopping district with major tourist attractions. It is also a 10-minute walk to The Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal Football Club.

The serviced residence will also be part of Islington Square, an integrated development developed by Sager Group, in association with Cain Hoy. Islington Square will comprise 263 new homes and 170,000 square feet of retail and leisure facilities. Citadines Islington London will occupy a beautifully restored Edwardian building - the former Royal Mail's sorting office, where its baroque facade and ornate detailing from more than a century ago will be preserved, said Ascott.

In London, Ascott operates close to 1,000 units across seven properties - Ascott Mayfair, The Cavendish, Citadines Barbican, Citadines Holborn-Covent Garden, Citadines South Kensington, Citadines Trafalgar Square and Citadines St Mark's-Islington.