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Médecins Sans Frontières


Sale & Leaseback of an NGO headquarters

SPGI mandated by Médecins Sans Frontières for the sale of their headquarters

SPGI was initially contacted in 2016 by Médecins Sans Frontières to support them in their search for a new headquarters in Geneva. The requirements were subsequently modified and SPGI was finally given a sales mandate for their current site at rue de Lausanne 78 in Geneva.

Sandra Claudia Andres

Sales Executive Director - Head of Investment

During this sale process, SPGI brought its in-depth knowledge of national and international real estate players.

The solution

The new headquarters in the Nations district is at this moment still in the design stage via an architectural competition. The challenge was therefore to convince the NGO of the importance of selling their building about 3-4 years before their relocation. This was in order to interest potential buyers from different categories, i.e. classical investors looking for a return as well as developer buyers who will also need some time to plan the transformation.

The solution lay in a broad-spectrum structured sales process, given the size of the building as well as its central location.

The result

The organization of the sale process in two rounds in the form of "Sale- and Leaseback" brought offers both from the world of income-seeking investors as well as from hotel developers with the aim of transforming the charismatic building built in the 1920s into a hotel. The local, national and international market responded very positively. Finally, a European investor convinced MSF by taking into account their real estate needs in a global way and bought the site in April 2020.

The conditions for the transfer of ownership were closely linked to obtaining the building permit for the new headquarters in Geneva and resulted in a longer transaction time.

The added value

SPGI's in-depth knowledge of national and international real estate players has enabled to carry out this mission successfully. 

Indeed, the large number of potential buyers for the MSF site contributed to their good positioning during the negotiations. 

Moreover, knowing in detail the future conditions of the relocation allowed SPGI to draw up a tailor-made sale and leaseback contract respecting the schedule of the development project of MSF's new headquarters.