Hong Kong Investors Back Asian Property Fund to undertake £60m Restoration of Iconic UK Real Estate

20 Jan, 2012, 11:47 GMT Van André Rieu Productions

LONDON, January 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

The Strategic Iconic Assets Heritage Acquisition Fund (SIAHAF) today announced the acquisition of Somerset Place, one of Bath's (UK) five Georgian Crescents ahead of a £60 million restoration project.

SIAHAF - a Bruneian private equity fund established to acquire real estate with significant historic, iconic or culturally important attributes - propose to redevelop Somerset Place into residential townhouses, lateral apartments and maisonettes as part of a large-scale restoration scheme. The proposed restoration has already received full planning consent. Development will be led by award winning ORMS architects and internationally renowned architect, Paul Davis who has been involved in a number of significant projects across South East Asia such as the Grosvenor Estates, the first residential development in Asia to ever receive an MIPIM Award.

SIAHAF was established in 2009 to identify attractive returns and off-market opportunities to acquire real estate with significant historic, iconic or culturally important attributes. Fund Manager, Shuif Hussain and British property entrepreneur Johnny Sandelson are the principal sponsors of the Fund.

Johnny Sandelson, SIAHAF sponsor said:

"We are delighted about the acquisition of Somerset Place and look forward to ensuring that the restoration is of the highest quality. Bath's status as a World Heritage City is due in large part to its five Georgian crescents. Somerset Place is the architectural jewel in Bath's crown so we are proud to have completed such an acquisition.

"We have assembled a professional team of industry leaders and local experts for all aspects of the redevelopment. Somerset Place is arguably the most historically significant property within this fast-growing, internationally recognised city. We are already hearing enquiries from buyers as far afield as New York and Hong Kong as well as significant interest from London and within Bath. This world class restoration will be built to the highest specification, and it will attract local and international investment to the city of Bath."

SIAHAF has specifically sought to invest in British real estate, leveraging its Anglo-Asian ties. Throughout its existence, SIAHAF has remained committed to the high-quality refurbishment of historic British assets, owing to the founders' deep appreciation for historic buildings. The acquisition of Somerset Place was largely backed by HK investors who expressed an affinity for the building's esteemed culture and heritage as it was originally constructed between 1790 and 1820 but then partially destroyed during the World War II blitz.  

Shuif Hussain, SIAHAF fund manager, said:

"This is a fantastic opportunity for the Fund to foster Asia's traditional ties to the UK.  Somerset Place is one of Britain's most iconic and recognisable properties which made it a very attractive investment opportunity for us and our backers.

"The international standing of Bath as a World Heritage City, and its strategic location between London and Bristol make it understandable that Bath is one of the most sought-after locations in the UK. The value of this acquisition for our fund simply cannot be overstated."

As prime real estate prices in London continue to soar, there continues to be a migration away from the capital.  Families are increasingly relocating to nearby cities such as Bath, which provide equally extensive transport links, excellent schools and various leisure opportunities. In addition to its growing population, Bath is currently the second-most visited city in the UK.

The restoration of Somerset Place is expected to be completed and available for occupancy in 2014.

BRON André Rieu Productions