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From Swiss Chalets To Prime London

21.11.23

On the global stage, Switzerland has long been the embodiment of excellence, opulence and refinement. Beautiful landscapes, clean air, a thriving economy and a high quality of life are among the many reasons for its popularity.

Now one successful Swiss real estate entrepreneur, Byron Baciocchi, is taking learnings from his native market and focusing his eyes on the UK’s capital city, London, with new investment vehicle Unica Capital. The mission? Deliver exceptional real estate investments that generate stable returns for the long term while building a legacy for the generations to come.

Byron has carved out a 15-year career spanning acquisition, design, construction and property management, including co-founding the highly successful Ultima Capital. Now listed on the Swiss BX stock exchange for over £1bn, Ultima Capital owns and operates the Ultima Collection, a carefully curated portfolio of award-winning ultra-luxe residences, villas and chalets in Switzerland, France and Greece, with a focus on wellbeing and sustainability

Abode2 sits down with Byron to find out more.

How did you get started in real estate?

I studied International Economics at university which laid strong foundations, however unlike many of my peers I wasn’t interested in going into banking. I wanted something more hands on and tangible, so I went into construction and project management initially before founding the brokerage firm Byron Baciocchi SA.

Is there a common thread that connects your projects?

The Swiss are known for precision, quality and craftsmanship. This is something we have always focused on with our projects, whether a high end ski chalet, or an office renovation project in London. We maintain these values without compromise and make a big deal over the little details, while always ensuring our projects are as sustainable as possible from delivery to operation.

What does Unica Capital do?

Unica Capital identifies, finances and manages unique real estate opportunities, primarily focused on London residential and commercial projects. Unlike many asset managers and investment vehicles, we have strong in-house design, planning and construction expertise which gives us a competitive edge, while our boutique size means we are able to move quickly on new opportunities that arise. Across the portfolio, we are targeting average net returns of 6.5%.

Which areas in London are you focusing on?

Similar to our previous Swiss and European operations, we are focused on the best, well-established areas that have long term appeal. This includes Mayfair, Soho, and Belgravia - affluent areas with high demand from both domestic and overseas audiences whether to live or work.

The UK is in a challenging economic situation at present, is now the right time?

The challenges of the past few years, from Covid-19 and working from home, to the extraordinary political situation, have certainly had an impact. This uncertainty has caused prices to stall and even decline significantly for some assets, which spells opportune news for equity-ready investors who are willing to buy now at a discount and play the long game. Property is cyclical and London’s fundamentals of supply-demand imbalance, world-class education, business and sought after lifestyle will always prevail. Testament to this, BNP Paribas has just released predictions stating that West End super prime office rents could double by the end of 2024.

Where does your investment come from?

Our investment network typically includes UHNWIs and Family Offices from Switzerland, Monaco, and the UK. As we grow, we continually select our investors, to ensure our long-term strategy is aligned.

We are currently looking to expand and diversify this as we have strong growth ambitions.

 What can we look out for from Unica Capital?

We are closing in on a significant central London building acquisition which is likely to complete soon and next year we plan to invest circa £190m. After ten years of seller’s holding the cards, London is now a buyer’s market and we certainly intend to make the most of this.

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