Barbirolli Square La Francaise p.Google Earth

Both 101 (front centre) and 100 have been refurbished in recent years. Credit: Google Earth

La Française acquires 101 Barbirolli Square  

The French asset manager has bought the 87,000 sq ft Manchester office building from AEW Investors for £47m. 

La Française Real Estate Managers’ acquisition of 101 Barbirolli Square reflects a net initial yield of around 5.75%, according to market sources. 

The deal is the asset manager’s first in Manchester. La Française also owns offices in Bristol, London, and Edinburgh. 

Around half of the building is let to Swedish bank Handelsbanken. The remaining 36,000 sq ft is also let to multiple occupiers.

The building, formerly home to PwC before its move to No1 Spinningfields, was bought by AEW from Aberdeen Asset Management in 2015 for around £32m. 

In 2018 the building was refurbished, a project led by 5plus Architects. 

“101 Barbirolli Square is a complementary addition to the expanding La Francaise REM UK portfolio,” said Peter Balfour, head of real estate UK for La Française.

“The high-quality refurbishment, with a particular focus on ESG, coupled with the property’s central location provides an attractive workplace for occupiers. Manchester has been a target market for some time, being a vibrant European city that is home to many successful national and international companies underpinned by a dynamic workforce.”

Martin Payne, director of asset management at AEW, added: “The sale of 101 Barbirolli Square to La Française is the culmination of a successful refurbishment and reletting programme in Manchester.

“The future of the office has evolved as a result of the pandemic, and we look forward to continuing to provide the market with modern and inspiring workspaces that meet occupier requirements. This sale also brings European inward investment into Manchester, demonstrating the confidence in the outlook for the city.”

JLL and Ashurst LLP advised La Française Real Estate Managers, while Savills and Pinsent Masons advised the seller.

James Porteous, director of capital markets at JLL, said: “The acquisition of 101 Barbirolli Square demonstrates continued appetite for prime offices in Manchester. As the city continues to attract significant occupiers, it is unsurprising that we are seeing increasing interest from overseas and domestic buyers who are attracted to this dynamic and vibrant city.”

Oliver Foster, director of UK investments at Savills, added: “AEW has undertaken a comprehensive refurbishment of 101 Barbirolli Square and created a best-in-class, income-producing asset that appealed to both domestic and overseas investors. The sale to La Francaise Real Estate Managers has re-confirmed the strength and depth of investor appetite for the Manchester office market, despite the current global macro challenges.”

The revamp of the neighbouring 155,000 sq ft 100 Barbirolli Square completed last year.

Occupiers within 100 include law firm Brabners, which took 20,000 sq ft earlier this year.

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