Chinese soy sauce giant buys Clearbell Docklands offices

1st December 2016

Clearbell's Clearbell Property Partners II has sold 3 Harbour Exchange, a multi let office building in the South Quay area of the Docklands, to Lee Kum Kee, the Chinese sauces and condiments giant which invented oyster sauce in the 19th century, for £37m, CoStar News can reveal.

The investment is located close to Canary Wharf and South Quay DLR station.

Asset management initiatives include renewing leases and upgrading vacant accommodation and common areas, to improve incomes. Significant M&E replacement works were undertaken to improve the energy efficiency of the office space and reduce running costs.

Following the refurbishment, over 70,000 sq ft of vacant space was let. This drove rents upwards with the final deal concluding at £35 per sq ft. Lee Kum Kee will occupy one floor of the building.

Rob West, Partner at Clearbell, said, “Harbour Exchange was purchased at a sensible price, recognising the opportunity to improve the offices and secure new tenants. Having improved the quality of the offices we have been able to attract tenants from all parts of London looking for value and accessibility”

Clearbell Property Partners II LP remains invested in two additional office buildings at Harbour Exchange.

Gryphon and Knight Frank advised on the deal.

Clearbell Capital alongside Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners Real Estate bought the long leasehold interest in 178,713 sq ft (16,603 sqm) of offices across three buildings - 3, 4, 5 Harbour Exchange - from Land Securities for £37m in 2014.

At the time the asset was was circa 80% let with tenants, including British American Tobacco and HSBC.

Lee Kum Kee was established in 1888 by founder Mr Lee Kum Sheung who is said to have invented oyster sauce in Nanshui, Zhuhai, Guangdong Province of China.

Lee Kum Kee has subsequently become a household name with five production bases in Xinhui, Huangpu, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Los Angeles, with its the Xinhui factory one of the largest operations in the world, occupying 1,700 acres and 74m sq ft.