Burlington Arcade is sold for £104m

Marion Dakers
BURLINGTON Arcade, one of the world’s oldest shopping centres, has been sold to European real estate firm Meyer Bergman and US property tycoon Joseph Sitt for £104m, the pair said yesterday.

The centre near Bond Street, which opened in 1918, will be Sitt’s first purchase in Europe through his investment vehicle Thor Equities. Thor will take a 20 per cent stake in a joint venture with retail-focused Meyer Bergman, with an option to increase its stake to 50 per cent by summer 2011. The arcade is being sold by a private offshore family trust, which bought the mall from Prudential in 2005 for around £50m.

Thor and Meyer hope to take advantage of rising retails rents in the West End. Meyer said yesterday that rents near Bond Street may have passed £1,000 per square foot for prime window space, with overall rent up 20 per cent compared to 2009.

“The acquisition of the Burlington Arcade represents a unique opportunity to acquire one of London’s most iconic retail assets,” Meyer Bergman chief executive Markus Meijer said yesterday.

Meyer bought its first UK retail assets in Kingston-Upon-Thames and Ilford earlier this year, and said yesterday its strategy is now shifting to continental Europe.

Thor Equities has over $3bn (£1.9bn) of property assets under management in the United States, and has been looking to expand in Europe. Its founder, Josepth Sitt, is best known for redeveloping Coney Island in New York and for founding the Ashley Stewart clothing chain.