08 November 2002
Simon and David Reuben, the reclusive property tycoons who made a fortune in the former Soviet Union, are set to scoop Millbank Tower, where the Labour Party formerly had its headquarters, in a £120 million deal.
It is understood that Motcomb Estates the brothers’ investment vehicle, agreed to buy the 1960s skyscraper, sited close to the River Thames, at a secret meeting held late last week.
The building, officially known as the Millbank Centre, is being sold by Tishman Speyer, the private property group run by Jerry Speyer, the billionaire New York property developer. The deal is expected to be completed before Christmas.
Kevin McGovern, head of UK operations for Tishman Speyer, yesterday admitted that the building was “under offer” to a purchaser, but refused to confirm the identity of the bidder, citing confidentiality agreements.
However, property analysts believe that the prospective buyer is Motcomb, which has made little secret of its ambitions to add to its London portfolio, which is already estimated to be worth in excess of £600 million. Last year Motcomb was among bidders for the Berkeley Square Estate, which was later bough by private Middle Eastern investors.
Although Labour left Millbank in August in favour of more modest offices in Old Queen Street, near Parliament Square, the building remains associated with the era of spin, when the property’s huge media centre was used to brief journalists during the 1997 and 2001 general elections.
Space in the tower, which is a Grade II listed building, is let to a number of public bodies and leading companies. Tishman is selling a long leasehold interest in the building, which offers a 6.4 per cent initial investment return.
The Reuben brothers are among Britain’s richest men. They made their fortune with Trans World Group, which controlled much of the world’s metal trade in the 1990’s.
Motcomb Estates declined to comment yesterday.