The Mormon Church's investment arm has purchased a 186,455 sq ft Amazon warehouse in Wembley for £74 million. The property, named Wembley180, was bought from UK Commercial
Property REIT (UKCM) and will now be included in the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints' investment portfolio, valued at $44.8 billion at the end of 2022.
The acquisition was made by Covent Garden IP, a registered charitable company with a mission to promote and further the religious and charitable work of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the United Kingdom. Covent Garden IP, also known as CG, invests in and holds commercial property for the benefit of the Church. In 2021, the company generated £5.6 million in investment income, primarily from rent, and contributed £2.3 million to the Church. By the end of the same year, CG owned property worth nearly £100 million.
Dale Bills, spokesperson for the buyer, expressed that the purchase of Wembley180 aligns with their goal of making prudent, long-term investments. The earnings from their investments are expected to support the religious and charitable work of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the United Kingdom.
UKCM, which initially acquired the property in 2009, stated that the sale price reflects a net initial yield of 3.49%. Will Fulton, the fund manager at UKCM, mentioned that the Mormon Church is likely to have a long-term interest in the property, which suits both parties. The proceeds from the deal will be utilized by UKCM to reduce its debt costs.
The acquisition comes after recent allegations made by a former fund manager of the Church's investment arm in the US, claiming that the company had misrepresented itself as a charity while functioning as a "clandestine hedge fund." However, Church leaders have denied these allegations.
DTRE advised UKCM in the transaction, while DWS and Knight Frank provided advisory services to the buyer. Ben Sleath, the DTRE agent on the deal, suggested that CG likely sees potential for future rental growth on the property. Despite a slowdown in growth rates, the increasing prominence of e-commerce continues to enhance the value of warehouse properties.
Shares in UKCM, with a property portfolio worth £1.3 billion, have risen by 0.9p to 51.9p following the announcement. Photo by David Hawgood, Wikimedia commons.