Blackstone pays €1.1bn for NAMA’s Project Tower

Blackstone has paid around €1.1bn to win the vast majority of NAMA’s Project Tower loan portfolio, edging out Lone Star and Davidson Kempner.

Blackstone logoThe original nominal €1.85bn Project Tower loan portfolio, which is the loan book of Irish developer and investor Micheal O’Flynn, was reduced by a separate €100m tranche trade to Kildare Partners at the end of March, the newly-launched private equity fund backed by Ellis Short.

CoStar News understands that Kildare Partners paid around €20m for an Irish development scheme in Cork within the wider three-strong sub-pool of Project Tower.

Blackstone’s €1.1bn price for the remaining €1.75bn Project Tower portfolio reflects an approximate 37% discount to the outstanding balance and €100m above the €1bn “reserve price” mandated by NAMA, which is effectively the minimum price indicated to all parties at which a trade would be accepted.

The original €1.85bn Project Tower was comprised of three sub-pools:

  • a €266m performing pool secured by a UK-led student accommodation portfolio, comprised of 11 assets in the UK and one each in Germany and Spain. The loans mature in March 2018;
  • a €540m sub and performing pool secured by 23 UK investment properties, five UK development schemes and six German investment properties. The majority of the loans mature in March 2018, while a smaller pool of underwater UK-secured loans mature between March 2014 and March 2016;
  • a €1.02bn sub and non-performing 21 investment properties, 67 residential and commercial developments and 27 landbanks throughout Ireland.

Project Tower’s student accommodation pool is comprised of 5,531 UK beds in halls of residences across Manchester, Newcastle, Birmingham, Liverpool, Glasgow, Leicester as well as Cardiff and beyond. In addition, there is 587-bed student accommodation block in Valencia and a 284- Bremen asset.

The second €540m loan pool is comprised of 15 UK offices, including 130 Jermyn Street, where anchor tenant National Grid has a break clause in two years; the 108,000 sq ft Stockley Park in Heathrow entirely let to Mark & Spencer’s as a corporate office; and City West One office park in Leeds majority let to Capita Financial Group.

In addition, there are three UK retail assets, including the Aylesham Centre, and two industrial assets, two hotels and one warehouse in Livingston

Among the five UK development schemes are a 10-acre mixed-use scheme in Glasgow, called Scotland Street, and a 6.5-acre industrial scheme in Portsmouth. The German investment portfolio is comprised of two retail assets, two mixed-use and an office and industrial asset.

Project Tower’s original €1bn Irish sub-pool includes 18 investment properties in Cork – comprised of nine retail assets, the Ballincollig Shopping Centre, six offices and two mixed-use assets.

There are 50 commercial developments and 17 residential developments spread across predominantly Ballincollig, Cork, Crosshaven and Mallow. Among the residential developments is the landmark Elysian Residential scheme in Cork, which O’Flynn only managed to complete in September 2008 – just as Ireland’s dramatic market collapse set in.

Project Tower also includes an enormous land bank which, including of the tranche sale to Kildare Partners, totalled 1,158-acres spread across throughout Cork, Dublin, Mallow, Kerry and beyond.

UBS sold Project Tower on NAMA’s behalf.

All parties declined to comment.

About CoStar News

Finance Editor, CoStar News
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