LONDON- The ING Covent Garden Limited Partnership, managed by Rugby Estates, has bought the Strand Island portfolio in Covent Garden, London WC2 from Merrill Lynch Property Fund for £66 million ($105 million). The purchase doubles the partnership’s holdings in the Covent Garden district to over £125 million ($200 million).

The Strand Island investment comprises 105,000 sf of office, retail and leisure space, with a prominent frontage to the Strand. The block is bordered by Bedford Street, Chandos Place and Agar Street. major tenants include Dixons, Whitbread, Curzons Leisure and GE Capital Bank. The properties are currently 99% let and produce rental income of £4.5 million ($7.2 million) per annum with an average unexpired lease length of ten years.

The purchase has been financed through the issue of £26.8 million ($43 million) of additional capital, and debt finance from the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Rugby Estates Chairman David Tye said the deal was the largest investment transaction in Covent Garden in the last 12 months. “The Strand Island site purchase represents a major step towards our objective of growing the portfolio of the partnership to £250 million ($400 million) of assets within the next few years.”

DE & J Levy was the vendor’s agent; Baring, Houston and & Saunders and Rugby Estates represented the purchaser.

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