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BlackRock doubles money on Paris property sale to Norges Bank

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A BlackRock opportunistic fund – formerly MGPA – has sold a central Paris property to the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global for €425.6m.

The Madeleine building was sold by BlackRock’s Europe Property Fund III five years after its €210m purchase.

BlackRock inherited the 31,000 sqm building when it took control of MGPA last year.

Jean-Philippe Olgiati, BlackRock Real Estate France director, said the 2009 acquisition was made “when there was little liquidity in the market”.

At the time, the mixed-use property – then known as Les Trois Quartiers, had 4% vacancy.

MGPA refurbished both the office entrance and retail space.

BlackRock said, in the last five years, new retail and office leases had been signed with eight tenants including Chanel, Visa and C&A.

When MGPA’s Europe Fund III, part of the Global Fund III, bought the asset, it used €140m of debt from Deutsche Postbank and Landesbank Hessen-Thuringen-Girozentrale, as well as €30m in vendor finance from the seller.

Hammerson, the UK REIT that sold the property, had valued it at €275m at the end of 2008, six months before the sale.

The transaction provides the Norwegian fund, advised by Norges Bank Investment Management, sizeable exposure to the central Paris market in a single deal.

With trophy assets increasing in popularity across Europe, purchases by traditionally longer-term capital could reduce the amount of liquidity in the prime commercial real estate sector, with owners ‘sitting’ on their assets for longer periods.

BlackRock’s acquisition of MGPA in October last year created a combined $23.5bn (€17.5bn) platform.

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