Completed in 2000, Sony Center is located at Potsdamer Platz in the heart of Berlin. Designed by Helmut Jahn, the 1.2 million-square-foot, eight-building, mixed-use complex is punctuated by the light-flooded Forum with its round roof of textile sails spanning 56,490 square feet, which resembles Mount Fuji in Japan.
Hines exceeds original pro forma during asset management assignment of landmark complex in the heart of Berlin
With its prominent roof atop the public forum as well as the 103-meter BahnTower, the complex is among Berlin’s most outstanding real estate. With office, residential and large-scale entertainment components, the center attracts approximately 8.3 million annual visitors.
In 2010, Hines led the €585 million acquisition of Sony Center in a complex share deal transaction for NPS from a Morgan Stanley managed fund. Hines served as advisor and represented NPS in all negotiations, including acquisition and financing, over the duration of the transaction.
Sony Center was one of the first investments made by NPS in Europe, following the acquisition of the HSBC headquarters building in London, which was successfully disposed in late 2014 creating substantial profit to the pension fund. Hines also acquired Siemens HQ in Munich in 2013 which was refurbished and sold in April 2019 with significant profit.
Hines also served as asset manager with an on-site office and with a comprehensive plan that included strategic technical refurbishments, top-class management, repositioning and subsequent releasing at favorable rates, Hines sold the building via a share deal in 2017 and the original pro forma was significantly exceeded.
During our asset management assignment, we upgraded to more sustainable MEP systems, after the original installations from 2000 reached the end of their economic lifecycle. The most visible example of the retrofits was the roof lighting, where gas discharge projection lights were replaced with a Philips LED lighting system. This new system produced energy savings of 80% and significantly reduced operating costs. The project obtained Gold certification in 2013, based on the German DGNB City Quarter system. Invisible, but crucial to upgrading the buildings, was the retrofit of 14 km of pipe systems.
The main driver for value creation was the technical and economic transformation from a building complex let to three corporates, DB, Sony and Sanofi, to a multi-tenanted building with tenants from a wide range of leading consultancy firms.
The asset management assignment and advisory period were a return visit to Sony Center by Hines. Fifteen years prior to the acquisition, members of Hines’ European leadership team together with the architect Murphy/Jahn, advised Sony Corporation during the conceptual phase of the project.