CoStar News First Revealed £45.8 Million Purchase By Real Estate and Shipping Group

Unity Real Estate, the shipping and real estate group recently rebranded from Dao, has completed the £45.8 million purchase of Byron House on St James’s Street in central London.

CoStar News revealed the acquisition as one of two disposals M&G is closing in London’s West End at the beginning of 2023.

Byron House is Unity’s largest acquisition to date and marks a significant milestone in the growth of its portfolio, the company said.

It comprises more than 36,000 square feet of office, retail and restaurant space across lower ground, ground and six upper floors. The building is home to the bootmaker John Lobb on the ground floor, which held Royal Warrants for supplying boots to the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the King when he was Prince of Wales.

John Lobb, which was established in 1849, has been in the building for more than 60 years. The six floors above are leased as offices to six tenants, one per floor.

Unity Real Estate CEO Danny Ungar said: “Byron House is our largest acquisition to date. We were attracted by the superb location and high quality of the building, so we were delighted to be successful. The office space is fully let however we see opportunities to further develop both the basement and seventh floor for the benefit of our occupiers.

“The recent closure of The Avenue restaurant on the ground floor means that we have an exciting opportunity to select a new, high quality restaurant operator to further enhance the building for both tenants and the wider St James’s area. This selection process is underway and we invite interested operators to get in touch.”

Ungar added: “This acquisition is an important milestone for Unity Real Estate and we are looking forward to making further acquisitions through the course of 2023 and beyond.”

William Lobb said: “John Lobb, the family-owned bespoke shoe and bootmaker started in 1849. For the last 60 years the company has been privileged to continue producing handmade bespoke shoes, boots and slippers from Byron House at 9 St James’s Street.

“We are delighted to have Unity as our new landlord. We have been very pleased with their support towards our business so far and look forward to a strong future for both of our businesses.”

Unity Real Estate’s acquisition of Byron House is the first since the company re-branded from Dao. It is part of Unity Group, a global investment group headquartered in London. A sister company, Unity Maritime, operates a fleet of 18 cargo ships.

No advisers were involved in the transaction.

M&G Investments leased the refurbished third and fourth floors, of 4,300 square feet each, last year to luxury French brand Christian Louboutin and financial consultant Smith Square Partners. The floors were let on five-year leases.

The sales come after M&G’s Life fund sold Globe House, 89 Eccleston Square in London to Criterion Capital for £40 million in November.

The 68,686-square-foot office is arranged over 11 storeys (basement, ground, mezzanine and eight upper floors). The property is occupied and operated as the HM Passport Office.