Crown Estate Joins Gingko to Purchase U.K. Retail Center

The Crown Estate teamed up with a Chinese investment firm to buy a shopping center in the English city of Leicester for 345.5 million pounds ($578 million) as rising demand lifts property values.

The Crown Estate, the property company that generates income for Queen Elizabeth II, and Gingko Tree Investment Ltd., a unit of the agency that manages China’s foreign exchange reserves, will each own 50 percent of Fosse Shopping Park, according to a statement today. The U.K. company will manage the property, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest of London.

U.K. commercial property values have been climbing as an improving economy boosts fuels for stores and office space. More than 8 million shoppers visit Fosse Park every year and occupiers include Gap, Marks & Spencer, Boots and Next.

“Fosse Shopping Park is one of the best assets of its kind, combining a prime location, with both scale and opportunities to enhance performance,” James Cooksey, head of the Crown Estate’s regional portfolio, said in the statement.

In addition to a majority stake in Regent Street, the Crown Estate owns shopping centers, golf courses, Ascot racecourse, parks, farms and almost all of the U.K.’s seabed, according to documents posted on its website. It acquired a 6.4 percent stake in the 4-acre Pollen Estate in London’s Mayfair district for 38 million pounds earlier this week.

Gingko Tree Investment is a unit of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute.

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