The Ardent Companies UK, the acquisitive subsidiary of US-based real estate investment and asset management firm The Ardent Companies, has completed its acquisition of the retail element of The Royal Exchange in the City of London from Oxford Properties.
The Royal Exchange, located opposite the Bank of England between Threadneedle Street and Cornhill, is the City’s leading luxury retail destination. Providing 51,400 sq ft of retail space around a historic covered courtyard, brands at the scheme include Tiffany & Co, Hermès, Bremont and Fortnum & Mason.
The transaction represents the latest addition to Ardent UK’s retail portfolio, following the purchase of Touchwood in Solihull in May 2021 in what was the first major shopping centre deal since the onset of the pandemic, effectively calling the retail investment market. Since its UK launch in early 2021, Ardent UK has also established a strategic national industrial portfolio of more than 2.25 million sq ft.
The acquisition of The Royal Exchange is in line with Ardent UK’s wider investment strategy, which focuses on high-quality properties that present the opportunity for additional value growth through effective and proactive asset management. The Royal Exchange offers considerable asset management potential as the City adapts to new working and shopping patterns.
Richard Benson, managing director of Ardent UK, said: “As an opportunistic and acquisitive firm, the possibilities presented by The Royal Exchange are very attractive, with our strategy focused on driving performance through an improved offer that better meets the changing needs of those that visit the City for both work and pleasure. The Royal Exchange has long been the Square Mile’s destination of choice for those seeking the best in luxury goods and dining, and we look forward to being part of the latest chapter in the storied history of this great asset.”
At the heart of the City of London, The Royal Exchange has seen many different uses throughout its history since its origins as London’s first purpose-built trading centre in 1566. This includes a period as the home of the Lloyd’s insurance market, with the current building, the third on the site, opened by Queen Victoria in 1844. Oxford Properties owned the retail element of The Royal Exchange from 2014; office space on upper floors of the asset are held by a separate third party.
Ardent UK was represented by Bruce Gillingham Pollard, while CBRE advised Oxford Properties.