Leading private equity real estate manager Meyer Bergman, together with local development and investment partners Assembly and Stepling, have sold the former Paris headquarters of a American web services firm to asset managers DWS and La Française REM.
The disposal comes after Meyer Bergman and Assembly secured planning permission to add another c. 1,750 sq. m. of building space to the asset, which is located on rue Héliopolis in the 17th arrondissement, on the outskirts of Paris’s Central Business District.
Meyer Bergman and Assembly are together repurposing the office building to deliver a new genuinely mixed-use ‘work-live’ development. The development’s redesign was led by famed French architect Franklin Azzi, who is behind a number of high profile projects globally.
The six-storey building, which was built in two phases in 1955 and 1989 respectively, will soon host a new 1,000 sq. m. residential element, which has been successfully pre-leased to European co-living pioneer Colonies. The 8,060 sq. m. office component has been successfully pre-leased to Webhelp, a world-leader in Business Process Outsourcing.
DWS has acquired the office element, La Française the residential element.
Meyer Bergman has also invested significantly in creating a new brand and place identity for the former office, naming the asset TOKO after the legendary Viking warrior Palnatoke, whose story is thought to be the precursor to the tale of Swiss folk hero William Tell.
TOKO will serve as the headquarters for Webhelp and be the first Parisian site for Colonies.
Meyer Bergman, which has offices in London, Paris, Frankfurt and elsewhere, specialises in repositioning or repurposing existing buildings to make them more appealing to occupiers, and in turn, investors.
In addition to TOKO, Meyer Bergman is currently involved in a number of high-profile mixed-use developments with a strong residential component, including:
TOKO will sit just 350 metres away from Paris’s new Grand Paris Express tramway line. The building also has excellent transport links with access to four underground lines, two suburban train lines and several bus routes.
The Grand Paris Express line, set to be delivered by 2023, will advance suburb-to-suburb transportation giving Parisians improved access to key economic locations such as the CBD. This comes as part of the capital’s modernisation of transport infrastructure across the city.
Meyer Bergman is capitalising on this modernisation agenda through the relaunch of its new building as it looks to serve an expanding professional workforce in the French capital.
Paris boasts both strong office and residential markets, marked by restricted supply and rising demand.
Office vacancy was just 2.3 percent in Q2 2020 according to CBRE, while the city’s relatively youthful population combined with rising rents per sq. m. are feeding into demand for co-living accommodation such as what Colonies is providing.
Marcus Meijer, CEO of Meyer Bergman, said: “We managed to acquire a quality asset with strong value-add potential thanks to the strength of our local on-the-ground Paris team.
“The successful pre-leasing of both the residential and commercial components at TOKO, combined with today’s announcement on the disposal, together demonstrate the power and benefit of investing significantly into high quality design and branding for an asset.
“This project also underlines our ability to successfully repurpose existing assets in core European city markets. Urban repositioning is a trend we see expanding post-pandemic, with Covid-19 accelerating preexisting structural shifts that cut across multiple real estate asset classes.”