THE STORY of Old Spitalfields Market has taken another turn: a New York property investor has bought it from a Dublin company for £105 million.
Ashkenazy Acquisition paid £105 million for the Commercial Street E1 6EW site, which is known for its Sunday market.
Ballymore bought the Grade II listed property in 1999 for £8 million and after a £25 million refurbishment it netted a total £28 million in rent.
Local residents may not be as happy as the lawyers, accountants and dealmakers who will reap millions in fees from the sale deal. Older residents will recall that there was once a 25m swimming pool open to the public, as well as indoor sports areas, at the site. The pool lasted four years before the City could no longer keep its hands off the potentially lucrative space given over to water.
On three artificial grass pitches office workers — OK, men — competed in a lunchtime football league. That ceased a few years after the swimming ended.
A music venue on a floor overlooking Commercial Street drew top acts before it, too, was closed.
Fashionistas, foreign tourists and out-of-towners are still drawn to the market but some residents of the nearby high-grade flats and fine Georgian houses agree with the hipster claim that it has become “too corporate” as multinational brands displace small retailers.
The City has few doubts. The Financial Times called the market a “trophy asset”. It is especially valuable since demand for retail sites in London started rising. Broadgate, the retro City quarter, is also likely to be sold this year. Ashkenazy Acquisitions is looking for more property in London.
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