Wednesday, September 28, 2016

For sale: Unique London redevelopment site Catholic Church is sitting on

heythrop.jpgProperty investors will be offered the chance to buy a more unorthodox asset — a Kensington college for aspiring priests.

Agent CBRE has been hired by freeholder Jesuits in Britain to sell the 2.7-acre King’s Gardens plot, hidden behind the doors of Heythrop College on upmarket Kensington Square, the Evening Standard can reveal.

There is no fixed asking price but real-estate experts suggested that bids of at least £100 million are expected.

Heythrop was established in Louvain, Belgium, in 1614 and has been part of the University of London since 1970. It is used to educate those who are preparing for ordination for the priesthood and those already engaged in ministry in the Catholic Church and other religious institutions.  

It has counted Kensington as its home since 1993. The complex comprises six buildings that offer scope for a major redevelopment into homes, offices and shops.

Peter Burns, executive director at CBRE said:  “King’s Gardens will appeal to London’s best artisan developers who appreciate character, heritage and distinguished locations. This is a fantastic opportunity to open up an unknown corner of Kensington to provide a new and refined development that will be attractive to local residents, business and institutions alike."
He added: "The CBRE team have been advising the Jesuits in Britain for several years. We are struck by the rarity of a freehold opportunity of this scale in this location."

It was announced last year that the college will close in 2018.

A Jesuits in Britain spokesman said: “Heythrop College incurs a significant financial deficit each year. The financial reality is that as a small institution, within this highly competitive higher education environment and with the costly regulatory demands, it cannot continue in its current form.”

Funds raised from the sale will be used to support the future work of the Jesuits in higher education.

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