Benson Elliot JV exits €150m of Paris offices

The London-based private equity real estate firm and its partner, French asset manager Générale Continentale Investissements, have announced the sales of two Paris offices after they had deployed various value-add strategies to the assets.

London-based private equity real estate firm Benson Elliot Capital Management and Générale Continentale Investissements, a French asset management business, have exited from more than €150 million of Paris offices. The pair announced today they had sold Olympique, a 110,410 square foot, modern office in the 13th Arrondissement of Paris to an unnamed fund manager. They also said they had sold Opéra Italiens, another office comprising 79,384 square feet and located in the city’s 9th Arrondissement, to an unnamed pension fund.

The latter of the two properties was part of the Opéra portfolio, a four property-strong portfolio originally acquired in 2007. Opéra Italiens was formerly the headquarters of French newspaper Le Monde and is today home to France’s Ministère de la Justice.

The partners said the sales came after they had undertaken various value-add strategies to improve their value, including implementing of new leases. Benson Elliot and GCI were advised by BNP Paribas Real Estate, Cushman & Wakefield, L’Etude des Notaires du Quai Voltaire and Cabinet Gide.

Rémi Monglon, principal and head of investment in France at Benson Elliot, said: “In the context of current market uncertainty, the sale of these buildings demonstrates that core product remains resilient and highly liquid. 
Creating core has been our strategy over the past few years and will remain our focus going forward.”
Benson Elliot recently made headlines for taking advantage of a €187 million CMBS loan default in Germany. Last month, investing on behalf of its currently active Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners III fund – for which it raised €510 million in February 2009 – the firm agreed to the purchase of an 80-property residential portfolio with units of collapsed investment house Speymill Deutsche Immobilien.