Avignon Capital acquires second Berlin Umspannwerk


Avignon Capital has added to its German portfolio through the acquisition of the Umspannwerk Prenzlauer Berg (“Ampere”) building, which is strategically located in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg district.

This unique listed property built in 1926 represents the early 20th-century German industrial architecture and is a former electricity transformer station (“Umspannwerk”). In 2010 the building was converted to offices, retaining the character of the building. It is currently split into five main areas, totalling 11,842 sqm (127,466 sq ft) of lettable office and event space, and is occupied by nine tenants, primarily in the technology start-ups industry.

Ampere’s location in Prenzlauer Berg is widely regarded as a ‘tech-cluster’, and is becoming increasingly popular with young, creative companies and professionals, particularly start-ups, in the technology, media, and telecommunications (TMT) sectors. Companies already located in the area include Twitter, Soundcloud and Uber.

The Ampere building is the sister building to the Umspannwerk Kreuzberg, which Avignon acquired in Q1 2015. Following this acquisition, Avignon Capital has now united the two Umspannwerks, both designed by renowned Berlin architect Hans Heinrich Müller, under one umbrella.

Since the acquisition of the Umspannwerk Kreuzberg last year, and through intensive asset management, Avignon has repositioned it to become one of the most renowned and demanded office buildings for the TMT sector in Berlin. Avignon will apply a similar asset management strategy to the Ampere building, with plans to rebrand the property, invest significant capital into improvements, lease out vacant space, and create a highly desirable work environment and sustainable community.

Eric Mounier, CEO, Avignon Capital, said: “Umspannwerk Prenzlauer Berg is our third acquisition in the city and has again demonstrated our ability to close off market transactions that would be in huge demand if openly marketed.  This asset is almost identical to our first acquisition in Berlin in Q1 2015, the Umspannwerk Kreuzberg. We are eager to start collaborating with the t­enants and reaping the rewards of owning sister buildings in two of Berlin’s most creative locations. We have now reached our initial target of investing €100m into Berlin and intend to add to this in the coming months.” ­

“This is a building that has been on our radar since the acquisition of Umspannwerk Kreuzberg. I think the architect Hanns Heinrich Müller would be a very happy man now that we have reunited his two greatest creations under one ownership”

Stefan Lensche, Associate Director, Savills Immobilien Beratungs-GmbH said: “Avignon Capital, again has demonstrated their deep understanding of the diverse Berlin market. They have maximised investment returns through a specialized asset management strategy, which combines contemporary market drivers with their unique and widely recognized portfolio, making Avignon Capital a highly competitive investor in one of Europe’s most demanded markets. Since 2014 Savills has maintained a strong partnership with Avignon Capital through sharing the same understanding of market conditions.”

Avignon Capital was advised by Savills Immobilien Beratungs-GmbH and Berwin Leighton Paisner (Germany) LLP.

Avignon Capital’s most recent Berlin acquisition, prior to the Ampere building, was the Berliner Union Film campus, located on the border of Berlin’s Tempelhof and Neukolln neighbourhoods. The acquisition of the Ampere building is a continuation of Avignon’s innovative strategy of building a portfolio of unique campus-style buildings, which now totals approximately 52,000sq m (558,022 sq ft) of lettable area in Berlin.