Big sale by AMP Capital

HANK SCHOUTEN
Last updated 11:37 24/11/2012
Vogel Centre
The Vogel Centre in Aitken St, half of which has been sold to a Credit Suisse investment fund.

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An Asian investment fund operated by Zurich-based Credit Suisse has bought a half interest in one of Wellington's biggest new Government departmental buildings - the Vogel Centre.

It has paid AMP Capital Property Portfolio $75m for a 50 per cent share in the 16-level complex that straddles the block between Aitken St and Kate Sheppard Pl.

It is the largest of three big AMP Capital sales in Wellington this year and a fourth, the sale of a half share in 1 Bowen St - the building which houses many MPs - is expected to be settled in three weeks.

It coincides with the sale of the Kirkcaldie & Stains block to Robt Jones Holdings for $50.5m and comes just seven months after it sold the Bowen Campus blocks behind Parliament to AMP New Zealand Office (ANZO) for $50.4m.

The flurry of sales represent a withdrawal of about $200m from AMP Capital's Wellington portfolio.

AMP Capital general manager Stephen Costley said it had to sell some of its Wellington property and to repay capital and clear debt. These properties were offered for sale because they were of a size and value for which there was a demand.

"We had a requirement to sell Wellington office [space] as the amount of property we had in Wellington was significant.

"It has provided an opportunity to return capital to investors. We'll also retire some debt and close out some of our swap instruments over that debt."

There was no intention of selling any more Wellington properties, because it was now close to meeting the request for capital.

It decided to retain a half interest in the Vogel Centre because it was "a lovely asset and great to keep a piece of it in the long term portfolio".

AMP has invested heavily in the Vogel Centre development in recent years.

The centre was expanded and redeveloped by Mainzeal Construction in a five-year, three-stage project that was completed last year.

The old Vogel building formed the nucleus of what is now one of the city's largest public service blocks.

Major tenants in the 16-level, 34,374-square metre block are the Justice Ministry, ACC and the Education Ministry.

Two floors of the six-floor podium, fronting on to Kate Sheppard Pl, are leased to the Education Ministry, Justice fills most of the balance of the podium, and ACC has offices in the redeveloped tower.

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Costley was not prepared to say what it was collecting in rent but said the weighted average lease term was 12 years.

AMP Capital, which acquired its Wellington portfolio off Capital Properties in 2006, has sold off a string of other buildings.

Other sales in recent years include the William Clayton building, the State Services Commission building and Novelle House at 89 The Terrace.

The company still retains a substantial portfolio in Wellington including the Defence headquarters building in Aitken St and the PwC building at 113-117 The Terrace.

Contact Hank Schouten
Property reporter
Email: hank.schouten@dompost.co.nz

- The Dominion Post

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