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Benchmark Group PLC (BMK)


Thursday 29 July, 1999

Benchmark Group PLC


29 July 1999
         Disposal of Covent Garden and Soho Properties

Benchmark  Group  PLC  ('Benchmark'), the  specialist  central
London  property investment and development company, announces
that  it  has contracted to sell to Shaftesbury PLC,  freehold
and  long leasehold properties near Seven Dials Covent Garden,
London  WC2  and  in  Soho, London  W1  for  £21.5m  in  cash.
Completion  of  the  sale, which is  subject  only  to  normal
contract conditions, is expected on 4th August, 1999.

The  Covent Garden properties comprise the freeholds of  Seven
Dials  Court, being 29/39 Monmouth Street, 3/5 Neals Yard  and
5/13  Shorts  Gardens, WC2 (comprising 16,500  sq.ft.),  11/13
Neals  Yard, WC2 (5,800.sq.ft) and the long leasehold interest
in  the basement and ground floors of 27/29 Shorts Gardens WC2
(3,300 sq.ft.).

The  Soho  properties  comprise the freeholds  at  69/70  Dean
Street, W1 (14,000 sq.ft.), 75 Dean Street, W1 (14,500 sq.ft.)
and 14/16 Brewer Street, W1 (2,750 sq.ft.).

All  of the properties being sold by Benchmark, apart from  75
Dean  Street,  W1 were recently contracted to be  acquired  as
part   of   a   central  London  portfolio  from  Chesterfield
Properties PLC ('Chesterfield').

Of  the  properties that were the subject of  the  conditional
agreement with Quintain Estates & Development PLC ('Quintain')
announced  by  Benchmark  on 24th May,  1999,  6/10  Lexington
Street, W1 and 184/192 Drummond Street, NW1 were marketed  and
sold  by  Chesterfield to third parties  prior  to  Quintain's
offer for Chesterfield becoming unconditional. The freehold of
37/38  Curzon  Street, W1 (comprising 24,000 sq.ft)  was  also
marketed  by  Chesterfield  but Benchmark  was  successful  in
completing the acquisition of this property on 25th June, 1999
for £8.25 million.

The  current  net  income from the properties  being  sold  is
approximately £1.23 million p.a.

Commenting on the transaction, Nigel Kempner, Chief  Executive
of  Benchmark, said:  'In line with our continuing policy,  we
have  taken advantage of strong market conditions to sell  on,
for  a  satisfactory  net  return, those  properties  recently
acquired from Chesterfield which were outside our core Mayfair
area.   We  are  pleased  to be retaining  both  37/38  Curzon
Street, W1(acquired directly from Chesterfield) which provides
management  and development opportunities on both  the  office
and  residential space and 7/9 Swallow Street, W1 which, given
our  other  ownerships  nearby, fits well  into  our  existing

For further information, please contact:

Nigel Kempner                                     Vikki Hennen
Chief Executive                       Tavistock Communications
Benchmark Group PLC                         Tel: 0171 600 2288
Tel:  0171 287 6881


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