Mark’s Regeneration fund buys Libération’s former HQ in Paris

Pan-European investment manager Mark, formerly Meyer Bergman, has completed the acquisition of a building at n11 rue Béranger, in the Le Marais district of Paris, that for decades was the headquarters of Libération, the French newspaper.

Libération’s former HQ at 11 Rue Béranger in Paris

Built in the 1950s as a multi-storey car park, it was redeveloped into a nine-floor office block in the 1980s to become the main offices of the newspaper. Libération moved out in 2015 and the building has been vacant since.

The office building will be extended from the current 5,000 sq m to 6,000 sq m, will have room for 650 employees and it will be upgraded and made ESG-compliant. The transaction was off-market and the price and vendor have not been disclosed.

“This transaction represents an excellent illustration of our aspirations for MPUR and the attractive opportunities we will seize upon as the market undergoes significant change,” said Philippe Bidaud, managing director France and Mark board member. “Current pricing allows us to invest in ambitious restructuring projects, creating some of the capital’s most sustainable and future-proofed commercial spaces in a city highly sought-after from both an occupier and investor perspective.”

It is the first investment for Mark’s Paris Urban Regeneration Fund, the first real estate fund dedicated exclusively to ESG-focused value-add opportunities.  

Philippe Bidaud, MD France & Board Member, Mark

The fund is targeting €750 million in assets under management in the next three years. Mark’s 22-strong team in France specialises in the acquisition and redevelopment of historic buildings, which have generated an average IRR of 22% to investors.

As part of the MPUR’s low-carbon regeneration strategy, MARK will focus on obtaining the Low-Carbon Building Renovation (BBCA) label during the redevelopment phase, and the highest environmental certifications available post-completion, including BREEAM Excellent.

A green loan has been agreed with HBSC Continental Europe to finance the project, and the redevelopment of the car park will support Paris’s ambition for the city centre to have all private cars off the road by 2024. The loan benefits from a dedicated green framework on which an ESG rating agency has provided an independent second party opinion.

“Tightening environmental regulations in France and the rapid ascent of ESG criteria towards the top of most investors’, lenders’ and occupiers’ list of priorities will continue to accelerate the bifurcation between less sustainable and best-in-class space with strong ESG credentials,” said Bidaud. “Barriers to entry including land scarcity and tight planning controls are limiting new supply, which is a benefit to those with on-the-ground teams, experience, and a vision to execute wholesale renovation strategies of existing stock.”