The Capital sold for £55m

Paul Unger

The 390,000 sq ft office building in Liverpool's business district, dubbed the 'Sandcastle', has been sold off-market by American investment house Cerberus to Starwood Capital Group and Trinity Investment Management.

The building, also known as New Hall Place, was acquired in 2006 by Liverpool-based investor George Downing for £50m from its original owner-occupier Royal & SunAlliance. RSA still occupies part of the building. Downing lost control of the building to lender Lloyds Bank in 2013 and the debt was sold on to Cerberus.

Other occupiers include government departments UK Visas & Immigration, which occupies more than half of the building, and the Crown Commercial Service. Liverpool City Council's inward investment and marketing subsidiary, Liverpool Vision, is due to move out in April to relocate to the Cunard Building, acquired by the local authority in autumn 2013.

Downing and the UK Border Agency, now called UK Visas & Immigration, agreed a 15-year lease for 220,000 sq ft at The Capital in 2009.

The deal is the second major acquisition in the region by Starwood and Trinity in the past 12 months; in April 2014 the pair paid £45m to buy the 280,000 sq ft historic Royal Exchange building in Manchester city centre from M&G Real estate.

Colliers International advised Starwood and Trinity.

All parties declined to comment.

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By Cynical

Unbeleivably risky purchase.