Topland sells First Avenue House for £154m

Mar 2018

Topland Group has sold the freehold interest in the home of the Central Family Court for London at First Avenue House in High Holborn for £154m to a Japanese investor.

The 112,274 sq ft building, which was at the centre of a legal dispute a few years ago, is let in its entirety to the government until September 2038 with the rent subject to fixed uplifts of 2.5% per annum.

The property is in active use as a court room and hears cases relating to matrimonial issues, family matters and probate.

In 2011, previous owners Standard Life launched legal proceedings against Topland over its purchase of the building for £58m in 2003. Standard Life accused the company of conspiring with the property agent advising the government to withhold information about the government’s willingness to renegotiate its lease and commit to the building longterm.

The legal dispute was settled in 2012 and a year later the building was brought to market through CBRE for £130m, but no deal was reached. At the time, the guide price was reported to reflect a yield of 4.25%.

Then, in 2015, it was marketed through Savills with a guide price of £145m and again no deal was struck.

Savills represented Topland on the deal and Knight Frank represented the purchaser.