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Real estate exchange slated for first retail IPO




Ordinary retail investors may close an innovative real estate asset swap soon, after the private equity owners of the iconic Capital Building in Liverpool kick off the process of listing the property as a single asset company .

Starwood Capital, a Miami-based private investment firm, has appointed advisers to explore an IPO of the building on the International Property Securities Exchange (IPSX). The float, the first of several to be announced in the coming weeks, will take place on the Prime segment of the exchange, making it open to retail investors.

Despite obtaining consent from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in 2019, IPSX struggled to take off after the pandemic put a long pipeline of potential listings on the ice. The exchange finally completed its first listing in May when The Mailbox building in Birmingham was launched by M7 Real Estate, although rules regarding leverage and float size meant the offer was restricted to investors. institutional.

IPSX was created to provide investors with direct exposure to unique, institutional grade assets that only major asset managers, sovereign wealth funds and private equity firms can typically afford. Investors will be able to buy and sell shares in individual buildings as they would on stock exchanges, through a broker, while property owners will be able to raise capital by selling part of a building.

This is the most exciting development in real estate investing in the past 300 years, said Richard Croft, who is both executive chairman of M7 and shareholder and non-executive director of IPSX. This allows all investors to meet the cost of real estate friction, and all through tokenization, unitization and securitization.

Croft said the exchanges in The Mailbox have been encouraging so far, citing the company’s premium over book value and the fact that every transaction that had to take place has happened. M7 is exploring plans to take The Mailbox from the wholesale segment to the mainstream IPSX segment and hope that retail investors can eventually trade through popular investment platforms like AJ Bell and Hargreaves Lansdown.

A prospectus for the Capital Building has yet to be signed by regulators, and its investment manager would not comment on valuation, float size or initial returns. But assuming registration progresses, at least 25% of the building will need to be sold at the point of admission, according to the registration rules. Dividends will be distributed quarterly.

As with securities listed on the LSE, the company will also be required to disclose any material changes in the outlook or value of the company, such as new leases.

The Capital Building was built in the 1970s and was occupied for several decades only by the insurer Royal & SunAlliance (RSA). It was acquired for 55m in 2015 by Starwood and minority investor Trinity Investment Management, which manages the property.

Occupying a freehold site of nearly 3.5 acres, the complex includes 425,000 square feet of office space, 1,100 parking spaces and several commercial units. In recent years, Starwood and Trinity have invested around 26m to renovate the building, whose proximity to the waterfront and Brutalist-style architecture have earned it the nickname The Sandcastle by Liverpudlians.

The role of rents has a weighted average duration of unexpired leases of 22 years spread over a basis of five tenants comprising the Home Office and the insurer RSA. The redevelopment work means the building is currently only 82% leased, although Trinity said the number of vacant offices in Liverpool was at its lowest in a decade, following a slowdown in new construction activities and an increase in the conversion of offices to housing.

At the end of 2019, Managing Director David Delaney told us that the costs associated with owning a stake in an asset are expected to be lower than a real estate investment trust (REIT), given the additional overhead costs associated with the management of multi-property portfolios.

At the time, Delaney said there were 28 companies interested in entering the IPSX Prime and Wholesale segments. Croft told us he expects 20 buildings to go public by the end of 2022. We expect there will be a series of offers next year, he said. The more assets there are, the greater the diversification and the greater the interest.




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