Friday 1 November 2019, Dublin: Friends First, now part of Aviva Life and Pensions Ireland DAC, announced the disposal of Victoria House, Belfast on behalf of its UK Select Property Fund to Vanrath Recruitment. Victoria House is an 11-storey c. 58,000 sq.ft. Grade A office block in Belfast and today’s sale is one of the most significant commercial property deals in the city this year. The office block has a number of high-quality tenants, such as Arthur Cox, Oracle and Zurich and the purchasers will occupy the one vacant floor in the building as part of their expansion in the recruitment sector.
This transaction represents an excellent outcome for Friends First and our UK Select Property Fund with a sales price significantly ahead of the purchase cost in 2014. The disposal of the property is in line with our strategy for the Fund in terms of releasing value for policyholders. We were advised by Lambert Smith Hampton on the transaction.Commenting Suzie Nolan, Senior Property Fund Manager, Friends First Property Fund
Friends First has been very active in the market with its Irish Commercial Property Fund having recently disposed of 23 Shelbourne Road, Ballsbridge in June of this year, also at a substantial premium to both cost and carrying value. In addition, the company achieved a number of very significant planning outcomes lately, including permission from An Bord Pleanala to create additional office space at Royal Hibernian Way, Dublin 2. Friends First recently completed an upgrade of the retail mall there including securing a number of new tenants.
Friends First is currently onsite in Blackrock, where the redevelopment of Enterprise House is almost complete and the upgrade of the shopping centre is well underway.