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Canadian pension fund partners with Crown Estate in development deal

29 May 2013

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The Crown Estate, which manages property on behalf of the Queen, will be working with a major Canadian pension fund in a £320m partnership to develop an area in central London.

Oxford Properties, which is the real estate division of Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS), will work with The Crown Estate in a 50/50 strategic partnership to develop 270,000 sq ft of shops, restaurants and offices in St James's.

The scheme is part of The Crown Estate's ten year investment strategy for St James's where it owns nearly half of the buildings in the area, which is worth over £1bn.

Paul Clark, The Crown Estate's director of investment and asset management, said: "Partnering with an organisation of the calibre of Oxford Properties speaks volumes about the market's confidence in our specialist approach to managing third party funds. St James's Market will deliver the most ambitious redevelopment in St James's in the last century and represents a major tipping point for our strategy for the area."

The Crown Estate will retain the freehold and will lead in developing and managing the assets of the scheme in line with its strategy for St James's, while Oxford Properties will compliment The Crown Estate's team by bringing the strength of its global platform and relationships to the deal.

Paul Brundage, Oxford Properties executive vice president and senior managing director, said: "St James's Market represents a truly exciting opportunity for us to partner with one of London's foremost property companies on a landmark project that will transform a historic corner of London.
"Our organisations are not only aligned financially but so too are our beliefs, values, approach and long-term view."

The two partners will each own 150 year leasehold interests in two blocks located between London's Regent Street and Haymarket.

The joint venture with OMERS is The Crown Estate's third major partnership for its central London holdings in recent years.

The Regent Street Partnership with Norges Bank Investment Management is still continuing, while its £100m Gateway development as part of a 50/50 partnership with Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan is due to be completed next month.

The property that is managed by The Crown Estate is owned by the Crown, but is not the private property of the reigning monarch.

First published 29.05.2013