MOSCOW Billionaire Roman Abramovich is close to buying one of the biggest top-end office complexes in Moscow for up to $800 million in what would be Russia's second-largest office deal, three sources told Reuters.
White Gardens, a development comprising two buildings in Moscow's business district, is the second stage of the White Square complex recently bought by Russian company O1 Properties for about $1 billion.
The sellers, a consortium of developer AIG/Lincoln and Russian bank VTB Capital, are close to selling White Gardens to Abramovich's investment vehicle Millhouse, two sources close to the deal and a market source said.
The complex, offering 64,000 square meters of space of which one third is already leased, is due to be completed in 2014, according to Moscow property consultants. The tenants include law firm Baker & McKenzie and private equity firm Baring Vostok.
AIG/Lincoln, VTB Capital, a unit of VTB (VTBR.MM), Millhouse, and property consultant Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) (JLL.N), which is advising on the deal, all declined to comment.
Moscow's rents for top-end office space have risen to $1,150 per square meter per year from around $700 in 2009, according to JLL, but have yet to reach the levels seen before the 2008 financial crisis.
(Reporting by Olga Sichkar; Writing by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Douglas Busvine and Mark Potter)