LONDON (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Trinity College, a part of the University of Cambridge, is in negotiations with struggling real estate developer Quintain Estates and Development over a possible purchase the property under London's O2 Arena.
According to The Sunday Times, Quintain said it is in talks with a "preferred bidder" over the arena in a deal reported to be worth as much as $30 million.
Quintain acquired rights through its Meridian Delta Dome Limited partnership with Aussie firm Lend Lease to a 999 year lease on the Arena and its surrounding environs in 2002 and since then has been working to develop the area as an upscale mixed use residential/retail community. However, the recent economic downturn and plunging commercial real estate values has put Quintain in a precarious position and the company warned investors in June, 2009 that there was "material uncertainty" about their ability to remain a viable enterprise.
Although those fears have faded to some degree as the market appears to be bottoming out, Quintain has indicated that it is still looking to divest themselves of the Arena.
Trinity's interest in the project has sparked some surprise as the the University's endowments have taken a hit in the last year. The Telegraph reported that a majority of the College's cash flow is based on rental income from commercial property.
The purchase of the property will not be change things for AEG, which leases and operates the arena. A spokesman for AEG told CelebrityAccess that "AEG benefist from a long leasehold interest in The O2 which will not be affected by the sale process. Landlords, current and future, will receive a rental income from AEG." – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers