Hammerson Said to Be in Talks With Berkeley on London Tower Sale

Hammerson Plc, which is selling assets to focus on shopping centers, is in advanced talks with Berkeley Group Holdings Plc for the sale of a planned London apartment tower, three people with knowledge of the matter said.

Berkeley, the U.K.’s second-largest homebuilder by value, is the lead bidder for the residential project to be built near the City of London financial district and Liverpool Street rail station, said the people, who declined to be identified because the sale process is private. A spokesman for Berkeley declined to comment. Hammerson declined to comment in an e-mailed statement.

Hammerson, the U.K.’s third-largest real estate investment trust, received planning permission in July 2011 for a 243-apartment tower as part of its Principal Place project. It would have an additional 56-units of affordable housing on the site and be adjacent to a 16-story, 57,500 square meter (618,925 square foot) office tower designed by Foster + Partners Ltd.

Hammerson estimated the cost of the combined projects at 485 million pounds ($760 million), with the residential portion estimated to cost 195 million pounds, according to an investor presentation.

In January, Hammerson said talks to lease a third of the office development to CMS Cameron McKenna LLP failed after the law firm postponed its relocation. Hammerson Chief Executive Officer David Atkins said in February the London-based company would complete all its planned office projects before selling them.

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