Ampersand was Peterson’s first investment in the United Kingdom. The project was a collaboration in a forward funding structure with a local property fund. The building, strategically located on one of London’s busiest shopping streets in the West End, had already been granted planning permission at the time of purchase. After the acquisition, value-adding work was carried out including refurbishing the exterior of the building, filling parts of the void of the atrium, and adding two floors of residential units on the top. Peterson saw the project as a defensive investment because there were many fundamentals that supported the building’s future prospects, including area regeneration, lack of office supply in the vicinity, the Crossrail development which will serve the area and increase accessibility, and retail income growth.
Peterson struck a deal to first buy out the building together with the freehold, and then employ the fund to continue with the development management and asset management. Performance metrics were put in place to make sure incentives were aligned for both parties. This was a landmark transaction, as it is rare for an Asian investor to work together with a United Kingdom professional platform to undertake such value-adding strategies.
Following the completion of the refurbishment works in early 2015, the building was leased out to a US listed company and subsequently sold in 2017, 2 years in advance of its original plan.