M1 wins Barclays funding for second big London buy

Barclays Commercial Bank is financing a second large acquisition for long-standing client M1 Real Estate. The bank provided a senior facility to help the Lebanese investor to secure Victoria House in Bloomsbury Square, London, ahead of 10 other institutional investors, for about £175m. The vendor was Ireland-based investor the Mortiz Group. Barclays plans to sell down some of the debt and is talking to a couple of other banks about participating in the deal.

Last September, Barclays returned to the property market as an active lender prepared to underwrite £100m-plus deals by financing M1’s £150m acquisition of Columbus Courtyard, a Credit Suisse building at Canary Wharf. Victoria House was redeveloped by German group Garbe in 2003. About 50% of the income is secured on government tenants and the average lease term left is 9.5 years.

Moustapha El Solh, M1’s real estate chief executive officer, said the group liked the building’s “imposing history and architecture” as well as its property and investment fundamentals. CBRE was the building’s sales agent and Chris Brett at Jones Lang LaSalle advised M1. Last year, Barclays moved the mandate for large property loan origination from Barclays Capital to Barclays Commercial Bank.