Islamic Finance News – 90 North Enters the US Market & Scotland the Brave?

In the media

90 North enters the US market

90 North Real Estate Partners has announced the acquisition of a controlling interest in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s headquarters in Denver, Colorado, as part of a US$68.5 million Shariah compliant transaction.

Working with the co-owners and original developer of the property Alex S Palmer & Company, 90 North has acquired the property as part of its US$750 million drive into the US real estate market. The property serves as FBI headquarters for Colorado and Wyoming and has a further 16 years remaining on the lease held by the US General Services Administration agency.

Scotland the brave?

There is less than a month to go before Scots are asked a very simple but potentially life changing question: should Scotland be an independent country from the UK? The outcome could have material consequences, including Muslim investors’ appetite to acquire real estate north of the border.

Purchasing real estate in Scotland has always been slightly different. While England and Wales has a common legal system, the legal process in Scotland whilst similar is not the same. I made my first Shariah compliant Scottish investment just over 10 years ago whilst at Citigroup. A retail asset in the market town of Dumfries, at the time we believed it was probably the first, or one of the first, Islamic acquisitions in Scotland.

Since then Islamic investors have ventured into Scotland on a fairly frequent basis, including Gatehouse Bank’s acquisitions of a Rolls Royce manufacturing facility in Glasgow, which they have subsequently sold, and of an office property in Aberdeen let to Petrofac.

And it is Aberdeen that really is the crux of the question for many Scots. Do they believe that the oil revenue that flows through this city from the North Sea will be sufficient to improve their lives, or not?

An average of the recent polls suggests that the Scots’ union with the UK will remain, with 51% in favor of remaining part of the UK, 38% wanting independence and the balance unsure. So, whilst looking reasonably likely that the status quo will be maintained, it’s not certain.

It is this uncertainty which has prompted many investors, Islamic or not, to pause and wait. Why take the plunge now when the outcome is now so close and the consequences of Scotland gaining independence are unclear. Their desire to replicate the success of Norway’s natural resource driven economy may be fulfilled, or should they lose Sterling as their currency and new investment dry up, the future may be less rosy.

The answer will become clear on, or very soon after, the 18th September

Philip Churchill is Founder & Managing Partner at 90 North Real Estate Partners.

Article from Islamic Finance News