Ex-embassy stars as Acuitus raises £24.8m

25th May 2012

A former embassy in London sold for more than £5m as Acuitus’s May auction raised £24.8m at a success rate of 77%.

A total of 39 of the 51 lots offered in the auction sold with eight selling prior and two post. The 7,419-sq ft former Lithuanian embassy at 84 Gloucester Place W1 has potential for conversion to residential/hotel use and was offered at a guide price of £3.5m. However, strong bidding saw it eventually sell for £5.05m. Active interest was shown by numerous wealthy investors from a number of continental European and Middle Eastern countries.

Acuitus auctioneer, Richard Auterac, commented: “This was an encouraging auction: I can’t remember a room being busier in the current cycle and with a terrific atmosphere too. As at our previous two auctions this year, there was investor appetite for a wide range of property types and sizes right across the UK but today there was much closer alignment between the expectations of buyers and sellers.

“95% of the properties we offered on behalf of administrators and receivers have so far sold which suggests that disposal strategies are increasingly in step with the prices that the market will pay. Acuitus auctions have played a pivotal role throughout the recession in indicating where pricing is and with experienced pre-auction preparation are now facilitating the work-outs that will help the property investment market move forward with more purpose.

“There is a huge wave of private equity emerging as there is a growing perception amongst those closest to the market that an increasing number of assets represent fair value and are available at sustainable prices.”



Retail properties in London and the south east were again among the most popular lots in the auction but there was also demand for office investments elsewhere.

Three substantial office properties in Leeds, Reading and Dorchester sold prior to the sale for a total of £5.525m while Gladstone Buildings in Sheffield – a multi-let office building – sold for £910,000 which was around 60% above its pre-auction estimate. 

Other sales in the room included:

  • 33 Imperial Way, Croydon: let to LA Fitness  and currently producing £55,177pa, was sold for £650,000 at a yield of 8.00%
  • Richmond Surrey: a 1,439-sq ft retail/residential investment sold for £475,000 at a yield of 6.1%
  • Crown Passage House, St James’s SW1: a vacant retail/office property sold for £975,000 which equated to a capital value of more than £1,100 per sq ft
  • 11 ground rent investments offered on behalf of Southampton City Council sold for prices ranging from £19,000 to £534,000
  • 6-7 Newton Terrace, Glasgow: a 7,311-sq ft office investment currently producing £85,500pa sold for £750,000

Acuitus is now taking sale instructions for its fourth auction of the year which will take place on July 10 at the Millennium Hotel, London W1. If you would like to enter a property into the sale or would like to discuss auction strategy, please do not hesitate to contact one of the Acuitus team.