Israeli online gambling magnate Teddy Sagi has acquired Camden Market, London's iconic commercial center in a deal worth more than 2.3 billion shekels ($665 million).
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Sagi's investment group bought the popular shopping and commercial compound from Richard Caring and Bebo Kobo after negotiations that lasted more than a year and a half.
Camden Market is one of the most visited sites in London attracting about 40 million visitors every year. The center features retail, art galleries, antiques dealers and office space.
It serves as one of London's most iconic locales, attracting startups and established high-tech companies alike. Google has a headquarters at Camden Market, as does MTV. In recent years, the area has become a hub for technological innovation, paralleling New York City's Silicon Alley.
"We see in Camden Market incredible touristic and business potential," Sagi said. "Our vision is to realize the potential with the help of new technology to provide an advanced experience for residents, shop owners and visitors."
Camden Market requires immediate investment to renovate the place. Sagi plans to invest some 1.2 billion shekels in developing the area. Aside from sprucing up the existing space, Sagi intends to establish a new center to be completed by the start of 2018. The new location will sprawl across 55,000 square meters, 15,000 of which will be designated for commercial uses. The new project includes 170 residential units, three large public plazas, art space, restaurants, cafes, and an elementary school, which is expected by September 2016.
"We have been dealing in real estate for many years - including advanced projects in Germany – long enough to understand demand and potential. We intend to hold the asset for the long-term. The new compound will enable job creation, advancement in education, and the bolstering of a London icon, increasing its appeal to both locals and tourists. In the future, we plan to identify similar sites in major cities around the world and take part in their development as well."