LONDON, June 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
In an off market deal valued at £16.3 million, LJ Group has announced the acquisition of a portfolio of four properties in Manchester's historic Albert Square from veteran Manchester landlord The Wrather Group. The site, next to the council and town hall sites, will be refurbished into high quality office space with restaurants and shops on the ground floor and will incorporate co-working space for entrepreneurs.
The buildings, which together make up the whole of the northern and a large part of the southern side of the square, occupy 70,000 sq. ft. The oldest of the buildings purchased by LJ Group dates back to 1874. Constructed by Scottish Widows and sold to The Wrather Group in 1974, it has been owned and maintained by Wrather for the last 40 years, along with the other three properties.
LJ Group is a leading privately owned multi-family office which offers direct investment, investment advisory, trust and fiduciary, and family office services to individuals, charities, trusts and foundations. LJ Group's real estate teams have a strong track record in acquiring and transforming well-located commercial properties and advises or supervises real estate and other assets in excess of US8bn. This purchase marks the first UK acquisition outside of London and further regional purchases are planned. The group also has experience running co-working spaces for charities and entrepreneurs and has interests in creative hubs such as The Refinery London in Chelsea and Maker Wharf in Shoreditch, offering modern, innovative and creative co-working space for entrepreneurs and start-ups. The Group is well known and respected amongst investing families and often pursues off market deals such as the Manchester acquisitions. The LJ team responsible for this latest project is led by Sam Lawson Johnston, George Haddo and Lord Wei of Shoreditch. The Lawson Johnston family, one of the original families behind LJ Group, can trace its history back to the inventors of Bovril and went on to build successful businesses in industrial and food production.
George Haddo, is a former Investment Director from the Cording Real Estate Group, where he held responsibilities in the FORE Partnership, one of the group's co-investment vehicles. Lord Wei of Shoreditch is an expert in technology, connected cities and social reform and acts as a special advisor to the team.
George Haddo comments, "Real estate is at the core of the LJ Group proposition for investing families. The teams offer opportunities across the risk spectrum and this project in the centre of Manchester will sit in the middle of that mix. It offers our client families the potential to be part of a project to purchase iconic real estate assets to be refurbished in an imaginative and thoughtful way and then derive an attractive long term income stream, all within the historic centre of one of Britain's most vibrant and important commercial centres."
Sam Lawson Johnston, Director, LJ's Real Estate division comments, "We are committed to the long term stewardship of these buildings. Our approach is geared around the idea of creating a sense of community and advancing excellence in building utilisation, with a major focus on design quality. We were delighted to be able to acquire these historic buildings and look forward to securing their future as landmarks in the evolving northern powerhouse concept."
Wrather Group was represented by Knight Frank's Manchester office and Hill Dickinson solicitors. LJ Group were advised by JLL's Manchester office and Charles Russell Speechlys solicitors.
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SOURCE LJ Group