Aberdeen Asset Management acquired the five acre former Bath Press site in central Bath for its Pan-European residential opportunities strategy. The acquisition will see the long-vacant commercial building sympathetically redeveloped to provide 244 apartments and houses, Aberdeen expect to be on site constructing the new scheme in early 2018.
The purchase follows similar investments in Germany, Denmark and the UK. In September 2016 Aberdeen made its first acquisition for this strategy, in Henley on Thames. Later the same year it bought an office building in Burgstrasse in Frankfurt, before following on with two assets in Denmark; the Paper Tower in Silkeborg, near Aarhus, and the Beach Front Terraces in Køge, to the south of Copenhagen.
The Pan-European residential opportunities strategy – which has an investment capacity of over $500m following a final closing in May – is a high conviction portfolio that will ultimately comprise of 10 to 15 assets, it aims to develop residential property in major western European cities where undersupply of housing is increasingly pronounced.
Aberdeen is acquiring obsolete commercial properties to convert or redevelop into high quality residential which can be sold either pre conversion once planning has been achieved or post conversion, wholesale or individually, at a sizeable premium to the original value. Aberdeen will focus on office space but given the firm’s multi-sector expertise it will retain the flexibility to work across the property spectrum, including industrial such as the Bath Press site.
The strategy is managed by Christian Schjødt-Eriksen (DEN) with additional fund management support from Mihaela Ruhl (GER) and Ed Crockett (UK). The team is overseen by Andrew Allen, head of Global Property Research and Strategy. The team will leverage on Aberdeen’s extensive European property platform which includes some 175 professionals focussed in sourcing transactions, asset management and development management.
Andrew Allen at Aberdeen Asset Management, commented: “Strong population growth related to urbanisation means that there is huge demand for residential property across the value spectrum in the leading cities of Europe both for private and wholesale owners where demand far exceeds supply. Converting some of the considerable volume of low value, outdated and underutilised commercial assets into higher value living accommodation makes sense and has the potential of providing strong risk-adjusted returns to investors.”