THE Church Commissioners have realised £381 million from selling
their stake in a central-London property portfolio to a consortium
that includes the Crown Estate.
The Commissioners owned 64 per cent of the Pollen Estate, which
comprises offices and shops on and around Savile Row, in Mayfair,
for more than 50 years.
Almost 100 institutions were interested after the Commissioners'
stake was put up for sale in May (News, 2 May), but
it was announced on Sunday that 57.8 per cent would be bought by
Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), while the remaining 6.4
per cent would go to the Crown Estate.
The price of £381 million made the sale the largest in the
history of the Commissioners. Their Chief Surveyor, Joseph Cannon,
said: "As we expected, the depth and calibre of international
interest in the Estate was impressive, with a range of buyers
showing a strong interest in the Commissioners' majority
The money would be used to fulfil the Commissioners' commitment
to financially supporting the ministry of the Church of
The Crown Estate, in partnership with NBIM, already owns all of
Regent Street, which adjoins the Pollen Estate. The head of the
Regent Street portfolio of the Crown Estate, David Shaw, said that
the Pollen Estate had an international reputation, and was a
"long-term investment opportunity".
The Crown Estate, originally the Queen's property arm, is now an
independent business that returns all of its profits to the
Treasury. Besides owning significant swaths of central London, the
Estate also manages the UK's seabed. NBIM is Norway's sovereign
The Commissioners' total assets came to £6.1 billion at their
last annual report, in May (News, 30
May). Each year they contribute more than £200 million to the
Church's costs, most of which pays pensions for retired clergy.