Ten years after Swazi billionaire Nathan “Natie” Kirsch acquired Tower 42, one of London’s tallest landmark skyscrapers, the value of the property has reportedly nearly doubled.
In December 2011, Kirsch Group, the retail tycoon’s family office, paid £238 million to acquire the 42-story building and surrounding units from its then-owners LaSalle Investment Management, Blackrock’s UK property fund and Hermes Real Estate.
According to a report by BisNow, recent financial statements for the Kirsch Group subsidiary that owns the building show that income from the property, which includes a 320,000-square-foot, 42-story tower and a 180,000 square feet of neighboring office buildings, has improved significantly since the acquisition.
The statements showed that the building was valued at £572 million at the end of 2020, down from £584 million the previous year but still more than double the price Kirsch Group paid in 2011.
After Kirsh purchased the property, he invested £50 million in renovating the tower and the five smaller buildings that were part of the deal. He built a 77,000-square-foot retail and office space designed around a new walkway called, “The Avenue,” which links Old Broad Street to Bishopsgate, sold at up to £70 per squiare foot on short-term leases of up to three years, appealing to companies looking for small offices on flexible leases. He also invested in a refurbished foyer and a new multimillion-pound lift system at the tower. When he bought the building, rental income was £20 million whereas Companies House accounts showed it was £25.4 million in 2020.
Completed in 1980 and 600-feet tall, Tower 42 was formerly known as NatWest Tower and served as the Headquarters of National Westminster Bank.
Hermes Real Estate and BlackRock, two pension fund managers, acquired the building from NatWest for £226 million in 1998 and opted to sell it in 2010. After a deal to sell the property to Hong Kong investor Chinese Estates for £300 million fell through, Kirsch stepped in with his bid and paid £282 million for the property.
According to Forbes, Kirsh has a net worth of $4.5 billion. The bulk of his fortune comes from his 70-percent stake in Jetro Holdings, which owns the Jetro Cash and Carry and Restaurant Depot. He also owns 50 percent of the Australia-listed Abacus Property Group – a stake that is valued at close to $1 billion. He made his first fortune in eSwatini, where he launched a corn-milling business in 1958.