In London, WeWork already reaping rewards of planned Brexit: Global property

A roundup for the week of July 22, 2019, of what's been happening in London, Hong Kong and other major real estate hubs

From left: London, Shanghai and Paris
From left: London, Shanghai and Paris

Every week, The Real Deal rounds up the biggest real estate news from around the globe.


United Kingdom
Taxpayers covered the €62 million payment needed in London to induce WeWork to lease 280,000 square feet of office space vacated by a UK government agency in a Brexit-driven relocation. As a result of the UK’s pending exit from the European Union, all EU agencies based in the UK must relocate to another member state. [The Guardian]

One private equity group found another to buy control of the iconic Liberty department store in London for £309 million. BlueGem Capital expects to sell for 12 times its equity investment in a 40 percent share of Liberty in a deal with Glendower Capital, formerly part of Deutsche Bank. [FT]

Homes still sell near record prices in London, but land values are sagging, as one developer’s experience illustrates. UK-based property investor and developer Capital & Counties Properties Plc owns land in London’s Earls Court district that has lost half its value since peaking in 2015. [Bloomberg]


The Israeli government started demolishing the first of 10 Palestinian apartment developments because they are too close to its security barrier in a Palestinian area next to East Jerusalem. Israel’s High Court rejected efforts to prevent demolition of the mostly unfinished apartment buildings, which had been approved by the Palestinian Authority. [NYT]


China’s economy grew at the slowest quarterly pace since the early 1990s, yet investment in commercial real estate remains robust, especially in Shanghai. Commercial property sales in China increased 14 percent in the first quarter to a record $17 billion. Shanghai accounted for more than a third of the mainland sales volume. [SCMP]



Anyone can own their apparel and accessories but who can say they live in Dolce and Gabbana’s Italian island villa? Located in Stromboli, off Sicily, the home from Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana is believed to be priced at about £​6 million​, and includes a creative interior color scheme, D&G fabrics and balconies that overlook the sea. [The Spaces]


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New Zealand
A ban on foreign buyers has put pressure on home prices in Queenstown, a mountain-ringed winter resort that had been popular with home buyers from the United States, Australia and Asia. Home prices in Queenstown nudged down in June from the same month last year, the first annual drop since 2011. [Bloomberg]


Saudi Arabia ​
A $500 billion supercity dreamt up by ​Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman​ two years ago with help from consultants would include flying taxis — presumably landing atop mile-high skyscrapers — ultra-fancy restaurants, “dinosaur robots” and a giant artificial moon. The plan for a 10,000-square-mile area of northwest Saudi Arabia, which included a consultant’s 2,000-page report, was completed before the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which the CIA has said there was credible evidence to conclude bin Salman ordered. [WSJ]


United Arab Emirates
The newest expansion of the financial district in Dubai is largely vacant. Dubai International Financial Centre spent 1 billion dirham ($272 million) to build its Gate Avenue expansion, a subterranean promenade that opened in January, but just two dozen tenants have leased space in the marble-lined, kilometer long promenade. [Bloomberg



Three luxury hotels in London and Paris valued at about $869 million combined hit the market as a former Qatari prime minister prepares to divest. The family office of Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, who was prime minister of Qatar from 2007 to 2013, is set to sell two London hotels, the Sanderson in the Soho district and the St Martins Lane in Covent Garden; and one in Paris, the Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile. [Bloomberg]



The richest man in Europe boosted the value of his commercial property portfolio by 11.5 percent last year to nearly 10 billion euros ($11 billion). Amancio Ortega, founder of fashion retailer Inditex, is using his dividends from the company to acquire properties that include prime retail space in London and New York and office buildings in Madrid. [Reuters]


The luxury housing market in the capital Warsaw is on the upswing — thanks to the nation’s strong economy — with listings 20 percent above what they were last year and an increase in new construction and rehabs. While U.S. housing prices have dipped, the overall housing market in Warsaw climbed 6.7 percent in 2018. [WSJ]

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