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LONDON-One of two Canary Wharf office buildings said to be on the market by the Royal Bank of Scotland has found a taker, as Irish investment group Quinlan Private and partner Propinvest have agreed to buy 25 Canada Sq., a 42-story, 1.2-million-sf tower 100% leased to Citigroup. The $2-billion sale is considered the second largest single-asset deal ever in the United Kingdom, trailing only the $2.2-billion sale and leaseback of HSBC’s headquarters at neighboring 8 Canada Sq. in April.

“This is a long-term personal investment in a prime property in the heart of London’s new financial center,” Quinlan Private founder Derek Quinlan offered in a release unveiling the 25 Canada Sq. deal. Having the world’s largest bank as the sole tenant was a major draw, according to Quinlan, and will generate a greater rental rate than that commanded at the HSBC headquarters. Rental income there is estimated by one report at $87 million, compared to $93 million in the Citigroup deal, which runs through 2026. Citigroup has had a presence in the building since 2000.

While outpacing the income stream to Metrovacesa, the Spanish-based buyers of the HSBC tower, 25 Canada Sq. is trading at a yield of just 4.5%, well below the average for similar investments in the district. Quinlan and Propinvest, which are 50/50 partners, explain that returns will improve over time due to periodic rental escalations. Designed by Cesar Pelli & Associates and Adamson Associates, 25 Canada Sq. has an impressive architectural pedigree, adds Quinlan, who cited the efficiency and condition of the tower as other attributes. Cesar Pelli designed several Canary Wharf buildings, including 1 Canada Sq. and 25 and 40 Bank St.

The Royal Bank of Scotland is also reportedly marketing its nearby 5 Canada Sq., a 500,000-sf building leased to Credit Suisse and the Bank of America. An asking price has not been indicated for that asset, one of 24 office buildings on the 97-acre Canary Wharf. The complex, which opened in 1991, today accommodates 80,000 employees in a 14.1-million-sf footprint. Besides the office space, Canary Wharf has five retail centers, two conference facilities, numerous cafes and restaurants and a swath of sports and fitness clubs. There are also two light rail stations and other public transit options on site, plus five parking garages. The Citigroup headquarters has 219 basement parking spaces of its own.

Founded by Derek Quinlan in 1989, Dublin-based Quinlan Private is an international equity and real estate group that has acquired several prime assets in the UK, including last month’s purchase of the Jurys Inns hotel chain for $1.5 billion. Propinvest is wholly owned by Glenn Maud. The firm pursues medium- to long-term opportunities featuring a core element such as a quality tenant and lengthy lease terms. The company is active in continental Europe and Scandinavia, but has most of its assets in the UK, a portfolio valued at approximately $5 billion.

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