Singapore's Ascott Limited makes UK debut with serviced apartment buy

Citadines Islington London

Singapore-based CapitaLand’s serviced residence business unit, The Ascott Limited, has signed an agreement to acquire from Sager House (Almeida) Limited (a joint venture between Sager Group and Cain Hoy), a serviced apartment complex at the Islington Square mixed-use development in London for £52 million, through Ascott’s serviced residence global fund with the Qatar Investment Authority.

The hospitality complex, which will operate as Citadines Islington London when it opens in 2018, will include 108 serviced apartments. Developed by Sager Group, in association with Cain Hoy, Sager House (Almedia) Islington Square is an adaptive reuse the former Royal Mail’s North London mail center, just off Upper Street, into a new £450 million, 4.5 acre mixed-use development. 
Ascott’s $600 million (£420 million) serviced residence global fund with QIA was established through a 50:50 joint venture last year. It is Ascott’s largest private equity fund and invests in serviced residences and rental housing properties with an initial focus on Asia Pacific and Europe. The fund has already acquired two serviced residence in Paris and Tokyo. Citadines Islington London is the fund’s third acquisition in five months and its first in the UK capital. 
“This is the Ascott-QIA fund’s first acquisition in the UK," Jonathan Goldstein, CEO at Cain Hoy said in a statement. The deal, he added, reflects how Prime London real estate is attracting inward global investment. "This is a major international real estate deal for London.”

Overall, Ascott is looking to have 80,000 apartment units operating worldwide by 2020. With assets of more than S$1.5 billion, the company's portfolio in Europe will grow 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,” Lee Chee Koon, Ascott’s CEO, said.

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