(Updates with Irish investment data in fourth paragraph.)
Oct. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Irish developers Joe O’Reilly and Bernard Costelloe sold a building leased to Louis Vuitton and women’s retailer L.K. Bennett Ltd. in the City of London financial district for 17.5 million pounds ($28 million).
Limedew Ltd. agreed to buy 4-6 Royal Exchange Buildings in a deal that includes five floors of offices above the two shops, according to a filing with the U.K. Land Registry. Tenants include financial adviser Helvea Ltd.
The Royal Exchange buildings are near the Bank of England, the Swiss Reinsurance Building known as the Gherkin and the Royal Exchange mall, which is owned by private clients of state- owned Anglo Irish Bank Ltd., now called Irish Bank Resolution Corp.
Irish property investors are selling central London real estate to help overcome the collapse of the domestic property market. The capital value of Irish commercial property fell 64.2 percent in the four years to September, according to a report by Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. Irish investors sold 858 million euros ($1.2 billion) of central London property in the first half of 2011, compared with 843 million euros in all of 2010, according to CBRE Group Inc.
The National Asset Management Agency, the company set up by the Irish government to take property loans off its banks’ balance sheets, is among O’Reilly’s creditors, according to Ireland’s state broadcaster. He was one of the developers of Dundrum Town Centre, the largest shopping center in Ireland, along with the late Liam Maye, who invested in some property deals with Costelloe.
Louis Vuitton is part of Paris-based LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, the world’s largest maker of luxury goods. L.K. Bennett is controlled by London-based Phoenix Equity Partners Ltd. and Robert Bensoussan, co-founder of London-based Sirius Equity, according to its website.
Michael Elliott LLP, the broker that advised the sellers, declined to comment. O’Reilly wasn’t immediately available for comment. Costelloe wasn’t listed in a telephone directory in Ireland and a mobile number under his name was no longer working. Limedew, based in the British Virgin Islands, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. A related company listed in the filing, Isle of Man-based Trident Trust Co., also couldn’t be reached for comment.
--Editors: Jeff St.Onge, Christine Maurus.
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