Beacon Capital invests in London retail complex

The US property investment firm is taking an equity stake in the first purpose-built shopping center in London’s financial heartland.

Alan Leventhal’s US private real estate investment firm Beacon Capital Partners is reportedly investing £85 million (€125 million; $159 million) of equity in a shopping center scheme in London’s “Square Mile” financial zone.

The firm is taking a stake in One New Change, a retail complex near St Paul’s Cathedral that is being developed by Britain’s biggest quoted property company, Land Securities, and designed by acclaimed French architect Jean Nouvel.

The £600 million 560,000-square-foot complex will house an unprecedented 220,000 square feet of shopping in the city’s financial center.

The planning body in the City – the Corporation of London – is desperate to see more shopping in the area. Land Securities wants to keep its scheme open seven days a week in a move that government officials hope will bring the financial center additional foot traffic on weekends.

Planning permission for development was given in January this year. It is being built on the headquarters of law firm Allen & Overy.

In 2005, Land Securities said that it would probably seek a financial partner for the scheme in order to reduce its exposure to central London, where it has a number of development projects.

One New Change has been dubbed the “stealth bomber” because of its likeness to the aircraft when viewed from above.

Boston-based Beacon was formed in 1998 when Beacon Properties Company merged with Equity Offices Trust. Since then, the company has raised five investment funds aggregating more than $4.5 billion in equity.