Meyer Bergman buys UK arcade for £104m

The London-based private equity real estate firm has acquired the Burlington Arcade in London in an 80:20 joint venture with US private property investment firm, Thor Equities.

Meyer Bergman, the London-based private equity real estate firm, has acquired another property as it closes in on its debut fundraising effort.

The company has acquired Burlington Arcade for £104 million (€116 million; $163 million) in west London in an 80:20 joint venture with US private property investor, Thor Equities. Thor has the option to increase its stake to 50 percent by summer 2011.

This is urban real estate developer Thor’s first deal in the UK. It also comes as Meyer Bergman continues to raise money for its debut fund. It hopes to close the vehicle by the end of the year.

In an interview with PERE in October, the firm said it might entertain joint ventures as part of its strategy.

In recent times the firm has made investments in London’s Bentall Centre in Kingston and The Exchange Centre in Ilford, Essex. Yet the firm said it was shifting its strategy to Continental Europe.
In the interview with PERE, Meijer said: “We like assets with high footfall,” said Meijer. “It doesn’t matter whether it needs work, but any sizeable centre needs seven million-plus footfall a year.”

The first deal it did was in April 2008 when it bought the 9,862-square-metre Aladdin Shopping Centre in Kiev. The centre enjoys high footfall being on top of a metro station with very little competition.

Said Meijer in the interview: “Some people ask us if we would invest in assets other than retail. We will focus on retail but we might want to get bigger exposure to non EU markets. They could be European or somewhere else.”

He added: “We would rather become the best retail real estate fund than to try to become another diversified real estate fund.”