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Grosvenor sells Vancouver office

The US arm of the British property firm, led by the Duke of Westminster, has sold the Grosvenor Building it developed in 1985 to merchandising and real estate firm Kingswood Capital. Only two other Vancouver office transactions over $5m have taken place to date this year.

Grosvenor Americas has sold the Grosvenor Building in Vancouver to local investment firm Kingswood Capital Corporation, the firm said in a statement.

Grosvenor developed the property in 1985. Financial details were not disclosed.

Kingswood Capital, founded by Joseph Segal in 1948, is a private group of corporations targeting real estate, manufacturing, venture capital funding and television.

Grosvenor said 40 percent of the rentable space in the 21-storey Class A office tower was leased to three law firms, while Grosvenor itself occupies one floor. The building will retain the name, the Grosvenor Building, while the firm continues to have a presence in the property.

German open-ended fund Deka Immobilien hit the headlines last month when it bought the landmark Bentall V office property in Vancouver for $246.5 million – the largest four largest transcation in North America in 2009, according to data provider Real Capital Analytics. Just one other Vancouver office was sold for more than $5 million in 2009 – Metrotown Place III, which was bought by utility corporation Metro Vancouver for $11.9 million in May.

Andrew Bibby, chief executive officer of Grosvenor Americas, said the capital raised by the sale would be used to make “strategic purchases over the next few years”.

Last November, Grosvenor purchased a portfolio of senior loans on 32 single-family homes and 126 lots in Atlanta, Georgia through its $100 million opportunistic debt fund, Grosvenor Residential Investment Partners.

To date the fund has just two portfolios of loans, including another package of senior loans on 26 lot subdivisions on 73 acres of land at Harrison Township, in New Jersey. The firm said the deals took “advantage of the attractive pricing and unique market conditions”.

Grosvenor, which first started operating in 1677 and now controls approximately 300 acres of prime central London real estate including vast swathes of Mayfair and Belgravia, branched out into fund management in 2005.

It bought asset manager Legg Mason Real Estate in 2006 to help boost its fund management presence in North America and Canada and, globally, has 70 investors in 23 funds and separate accounts.

The London-based firm recently said it was planning to grow its real estate funds exposure through the purchase of “complimentary fund management platforms”. Group chief executive Mark Preston told the Financial Times he regarded the opportunity to buy such vehicles cheaply as “once in a generation”.