January 25, 2012 / 10:00 AM / 6 years ago

Goldman Sachs London HQ nears $468 million Chinese sale

LONDON (Reuters) - Chinese real estate investor Gaw Capital Partners is in talks to buy Goldman Sachs' (GS.N) London HQ for about 300 million pounds ($468 million), the latest deal underlining the safe haven appeal of the city's property market, a source said.

Gaw, through its Downtown Properties vehicle, is in the final stages of talks to do the deal for the block on London's Fleet Street, the source familiar with Gaw's plans said.

The Peterborough Court and Daniel House properties are let to the U.S. bank until June 2026 and will form part of a new office campus development the bank is planning.

The 370,526 square foot property was put on the market after the former owner, Canadian developer Jesta Group, defaulted on debt repayments.

A series of high-profile City office properties came on to the market in the autumn months as their owners looked to capitalize on prices that rose 34 percent between June 2009 and September 2011, fuelled by demand from cash rich overseas investors looking for a safe haven investment, said Investment Property Databank.

Sellers also sought to cash in before a potential downwards lurch in the UK economy as a result of the euro zone sovereign debt crisis.

Other office blocks for sale include Credit Suisse's CSGN.VX London home in the Canary Wharf financial district and a portfolio of four properties being sold by German fund Kanam that includes Deutsche Bank's (DBKGn.DE) London base.

A neighboring Goldman Sachs-occupied office block in London was bought by Hong Kong based investor Chinese Estates in January. The company, controlled by its billionaire chairman Joseph Lau, paid about 280 million pounds.

Gaw plans to raise up to $1.5 billion to buy property in China over the next two years to take advantage of a slump in prices, Chairman and co-founder Goodwin Gaw told Reuters in November.

Gaw was not immediately available for comment.

($1 = 0.6416 British pounds)

Reporting by Tom Bill. Editing by Chris Wickham and Jane Merriman

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