Commercial Property News

Our magazines are published bi-monthly with in-depth features and news for the commercial property industry. On this page we have the latest news to keep you constantly updated on the market. On the left hand side of the page you can search our archived news which is stored monthly.



Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Prime Birmingham city office development secured for 25m

British Land is expanding its provincial development portfolio with the addition of the former Nat West building in Colmore Row, Birmingham.

This prime city office site, located in the heart of Birmingham, was sold with vacant possession by Omega Land for 25m.

British Land has appointed the architects Hamiltons to work with it to design a new high quality signature office building on what is widely believed to be the best office development site in central Birmingham.

Robert Samuel, Director of British Land Developments, said: "We have an established portfolio of development sites in the Midlands including Blythe Valley Business Park, Solihull and New Century Park, Coventry. We are pleased to have acquired this prime City centre site and are looking forward to working with Birmingham City Council and the local community to develop an iconic and attractive addition to Birmingham?s office skyline."

Councillor Ken Hardeman, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Birmingham City Council, said: "Whatever form it takes, I am sure that the scheme will be of the highest quality to reflect our aspirations for this prominent site in the heart of our civic and commercial area. I look forward to working with British Land to deliver a landmark scheme which will enhance Birmingham's reputation as a global city."

Savills advised British Land.



Gladman recruits agent for new Scottish office

Gladman Developments, the UK's largest speculative developer of office and industrial and distribution developments, has opened an office in Scotland and appointed one of the country's best known office agents to run it.

Greg Limb joins Gladman Developments from James Barr's Glasgow office, where he was a director and head of agency and development. With more than 18 years experience in commercial property agency, Mr Limb has advised on some of Scotland's most high profile office transactions, including Kenmore Group's recent landmark office development in Glasgow city centre, Sentinel and the relocation of Scottish Enterprise National to Broomielaw.

Joining Mr Limb at the office which Gladman has opened at Livingston Football Club in West Lothian, is building consultancy surveyor and project manager Rob Davis and office manager Jackie Malloy. Mr Davis joins from King Sturge in Glasgow, while Mrs Malloy moves to Gladman having recently worked at The Glenmorangie Company.

As an agent Mr Limb worked with Gladman Developments, advising on the acquisition of development sites in Scotland before joining the company.

"I was very impressed with Gladman's refreshing straight forward approach, the people, the fact that they will always build speculatively and their real appetite for development," says Mr Limb.

The office in Livingston is the first which Gladman Developments has opened outside its headquarters in Congleton in Cheshire.

According to Mr Limb, this is because Scotland represents one of Gladman's major growth areas in the next few years and the company recognised the need for on the spot specialist knowledge.

He says: "I will be using my contacts to secure sites for office and industrial developments across the whole of Scotland. We have significant funds available to invest in land across the country, if we can find the right opportunities. We always pay introduction fees for sites and retain the introducing agent to market the development for us. We expect to be able to make announcements about some new sites shortly."

Gladman Developments is already building Scotland's largest speculative distribution warehouse development, a 35 million 650,000 sq ft scheme known as MAX, on a 33.5 acre site at J4 M8 Distribution Park.

It also plans to develop the 20 acre Eliburn Campus site in Livingston, close to Junction 3A of the M8, where it will shortly submit a planning application for a range of speculative office buildings from 2,200 sq ft to 25,000 sq ft and for a number of smaller industrial units of up to 40,000 sq ft, which will be available both on a feuhold and leasehold basis. The company intends to move its Scottish office to Eliburn Campus once construction of the office buildings is complete.

David Gladman, director of Gladman Developments says: "Scotland is a very important market for us and I am pleased that we have secured Greg, Rob and Jackie to work for us. We are constantly looking for capable, professional people with the right character and personality to work as part of our team."

Gladman Developments has an annual turnover of more than 200 million. At present it has 8 million square feet of speculative distribution and industrial space under construction or in the planning process, as well as more than 1 million sq ft of speculative office accommodation being built.



Mantle buys Ely site for 60m mixed-use development

Mantle, the Stansted-based investment and development company, along with a private joint venture partner, has purchased a 32.25 acre site at Angel Drove in Ely, Cambridgeshire for a 60m mixed-use scheme.

The site was purchased for in excess of 4m from Berkeley Commercial, advised by Savills, with existing planning consent for 385,570 sq ft of employment use, with 1,430 car parking spaces.

Mantle plans to update the planning permission to include uses more suited towards current requirements with the aim of starting on site early in 2007.

Russell Tame, development director of Mantle, comments: "This is an important site for Ely in terms of its potential for employment use, and it will be instrumental in providing a large number of jobs for the area."

Scott Tyler of Savills comments: "This is one of the last business park opportunities in the area, and has great potential for a mixed-use development."

ASW and Lambert Smith Hampton advised Mantle.



Halifax Managed Income Fund acquires Newcastle office property

Halifax Managed Income Fund, advised by Savills, has acquired Tyneside House at Skinnerburn Road, Newcastle Business Park from Skinnerburn Properties for 6.27m, reflecting a net initial yield of 5.27%.

The property is let to National Rivers Authority on two leases, each of 25 years from June 1995, at a passing rent of 350,000 pa.

Skinnerburn Properties was represented by Cushman & Wakefield.



Tuesday, January 16, 2024

SWIP buys 85m retail warehouse portfolio

Scottish Widows Investment Partnership, on behalf of Scottish Widows Unit Funds Ltd, has purchased four retail warehouse properties in Wolverhampton, Dundee, Rochdale and Sunderland.

SWIP, advised by Edgerley Simpson Howe & Partners, acquired the properties from Morley Fund Managers for a total of 85m, reflecting a net equivalent yield of close to 5.20%. The properties include B&Q; Warehouse units on long leases in Wolverhampton and Dundee.

In Rochdale, Kingsway Retail Park has a wide bulky goods consent and is let to tenants CDS The Range, Netto, Klaussner, Comet, JJB and Mcd's on leases of 19 years or over.

Pallion Retail Park, European Way, Sunderland has planning consent for open A1 non food retail and is let to Dunelm, Kwik Save, Iceland, Shoefayre and Poundstretcher with an average lease of 13 years unexpired. It is situated adjacent to Matalan, an existing SWIP holding.

Paddy Ledingham, Head of Property Sales and Acquisitions at SWIP comments: "These four properties add significant strength to our property portfolio and the purchases enable us to align our weightings through an increased exposure to the UK retail warehousing market."

Jamie Naughton of ESHP comments: "This portfolio is a sound investment with both secure long income and property that will enable us to carry out a number of asset management initiatives."

Wilkinson Williams advised Morley Fund Management.



Financial close on 76m PPP Scottish education scheme

A consortium comprising Cyril Sweett Holdings Ltd, Carillion & HBOS has achieved financial close on the 30 year, 76m South Ayrshire PPP Schools Scheme.

Under the contract the consortium will design, construct, finance and operate three new primary schools at Barassie, Alloway and Monkton; two new secondary schools at Belmont and Prestwick and also construct a new annexe to the Kyle Academy. The first school will be delivered by the end of the year, with all schools being completed by the end of 2008.

Ken Gill, Director of Cyril Sweett Holdings Ltd said: "The consortium has, in partnership with South Ayrshire Council, developed original, flexible, robust proposals that will create an educational legacy of which we can all be proud. We are delighted to have reached financial close on this project and are now looking forward to delivering first class facilities for the local communities."

To date Cyril Sweett has provided bid management services, whole life cost advice, building surveying and due diligence services for HBOS. Going forward Cyril Sweett will provide due diligence through the construction and concession period, act as Employer's Agent and undertake operational monitoring.

Councillor Gibson T. Macdonald, Leader of South Ayrshire Council added: "Now that the final agreements have been signed, it is a case of 'full steam ahead' for the building work to begin. I offer my sincere congratulations to all concerned with what has already been achieved. There is no doubt about it, 2007 is going to be an exciting one for South Ayrshire."



H&M; and Zara pre-let at Market Place Shopping Centre, Bolton

Warner Estate Holdings has announced, on behalf of its Agora Shopping Centre Fund, a joint venture with Bank of Scotland, that an impressive list of leading fashion retailers has signed pre-lets for Agora's 40m addition to Market Place Shopping Centre, Bolton. H&M;, Zara, Warehouse, Lush, Principles, Office, Joy and Starbucks will all be opening their first stores in Bolton, whilst Carphone Warehouse is taking a second store in the town.

A total of 96,416 sq ft of new space is being created within the Grade II listed Victorian Market Hall, which adjoins Market Place Shopping Centre. The Market Hall is being restored and will house innovative retail space designed by architects van Heyningen and Haward.

Market Place Shopping Centre currently totals 320,000 sq ft and is the prime retail space in Bolton, anchored by Debenhams, Next, Boots and River Island. Construction of the new retail space will begin in Spring 2007, and will be completed for trading by Christmas 2008. H&M; is taking 19,881 sq ft and Zara is taking 16,103 sq ft.

Warner Estate asset manages Market Place for the Agora Shopping Centre Fund. Michael Stevens, Property Director at Warner Estate, comments, "We are delighted to have attracted such a high calibre of retailers to Market Place Shopping Centre, and are confident that we will have more pre-lets to announce shortly. Our proposals will restore the Market Hall to its former glory and will confirm Market Place Shopping Centre as both the number one retail destination in Bolton and one of the North West's premier shopping destinations."



Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Liverpool Victoria sells The Boughton Centre, Chester

Liverpool Victoria Asset Management, advised by Edgerley Simpson Howe & Partners, has sold the freehold investment in the Boughton Centre, Chester to Kilmerlin Danesmount for 7.1m, reflecting a net initial yield of 4.1%.

The property is located 0.5 miles east of Chester city centre and comprises two retail warehouse buildings totalling 38,715 sq ft on a site of 2.3 acres. The scheme currently generates a total annual income of 313,500 pa (8.09 per sq ft/87.16 per sq m) and is let to 4 tenants: Maplin Electronics, Durham Pine, Glyn Webb Wallpapers and United Carpets. The current leases expire between 2008 and 2013.

Tony Rogers of Edgerley Simpson Howe & Partners comments "This is a well established retail development, providing good quality Open A1 retail space in an excellent location. With the current leases expiring over the course of the next few years, the property offers various opportunities for asset management."

Kilmerlin Danesmount Ltd is a joint venture between the Kilmartin Property Group and the fast expanding Merlin Danesmount Ltd. This is the second of a number of proposed acquisitions for the joint venture.

Andrew Scott of Merlin Danesmount says "This is a strategic acquisition, given the current Open A1 retail usage and its proximity to the central shopping area of Chester, the site lends itself to an extension of the retail space and the introduction of new office and residential accommodation."

Kilmerlin Danesmount Ltd was represented by Cheetham and Mortimer.



Shepherd and Wedderburn expand in Aberdeen

Leading UK law firm Shepherd and Wedderburn has expanded its Aberdeen team with the appointment of Caroline Cumming as Associate.

Caroline, 31, who has more than six years' experience in Commercial Property, has returned to her home city to head up the firm's North East property team.

Caroline's appointment will further strengthen Shepherd and Wedderburn?s Aberdeen base.

Partner, Richard Cockburn said: "We are delighted that Caroline has joined Shepherd and Wedderburn. She has a wealth of experience in the property sector and will be a valuable asset as we continue to grow the team."

Caroline previously worked in Inverness but kept a keen eye on the Aberdeen market and says she is looking forward to working with local companies. "It's fantastic to be back working in Aberdeen and for a law firm that is clearly dedicated to the city. The firm has a strong reputation for providing the highest quality advice and service to clients and the wealth of resources available will allow me to do this," she said.

This year, Shepherd and Wedderburn has already been involved in some of the highest profile property deals in the area, including: acting on behalf of the Menie Estate in the Trump Deal and acting for Genesis Oil and Gas for their move to new headquarters in Albyn Place.

Caroline added: "Aberdeen will see a number of new development and redevelopment programmes in the coming years and the market will continue to be strong. It's an exciting time for the city and I'm looking forward to being part of it."



DTZ boosts Edinburgh office agency team

DTZ has recruited surveyor Peter Fraser to add to the office agency team in the Edinburgh office of the international commercial property company.

Peter came from the business space team at NAI Fuller Peiser and previously spent three years in the commercial department of Graham and Sibbald's Dundee office where his experience included valuation, rent review consultancy, management and agency consultancy across all sectors.

Expanding on his office agency knowledge, Peter gained experience throughout Scotland in the business space department of NAI Fuller Peiser where he worked on acquisition and disposal work in both the office and industrial sector.

Peter studied Land Economics and Surveying and is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.



Investream sells Darlington Shopping Centre for 84.5m

Investream, advised by Savills, has sold its Cornmill Shopping Centre in Darlington to Moorfield Real Estate Fund for 84.5m, reflecting a net initial yield of 5.25%.

The 221,066 sq ft shopping centre is the dominant retail scheme in Darlington and is anchored by a new 38,475 sq ft Primark store, which has contributed to a rise in footfall of over 19% in 2006. Other tenants include New Look, Bon Marche, Dorothy Perkins and TK Maxx as well as WHSmith, HMV and Clarks. The shopping centre has an adjoining 402 space multi-storey car park.

Nick Hart, head of shopping centre investment, says: "We predict that 2007 will continue in the vein of 2006 with strong demand for shopping centre assets. Yields have fallen to historic lows however we think that strong bidding will continue at the prime end, albeit with fewer parties bidding. There could be pressure on some of the more secondary assets where aggressive prices have been paid but with further retail development planned for some of these towns rental growth prospects could be dampened."

According to Savills' research, Q4 2006 was the strongest quarter of last year with shopping centre investment turnover at 2.6bn, bringing the total annual turnover to 7bn. The average deal size of the year was up on 2005 at 68m, with 21 deals at or above 100m and 26% of transactions at an average initial yield of less than 5%. Property companies were the biggest buyers and sellers of shopping centres in 2006, with private investors being the biggest net investors in the sector acquiring 2.1bn of investments.

DTZ acted for Moorfield Real Estate Fund.



Go ahead for 146m regeneration of landmark flats in Sheffield

National regeneration agency English Partnerships, Sheffield City Council and developer Urban Splash have announced completion of the formal agreements that will lead to the 146m regeneration of Park Hill flats in Sheffield city centre.

Regeneration of what is Britain's largest grade II* listed building will provide nearly 900 modern, distinctive and well-designed homes for sale or to rent.

English Partnerships and Sheffield City Council have signed an agreement under which English Partnerships has agreed a 14.8m grant towards the cost of redeveloping the flats.

Urban Splash has also signed a development agreement with Sheffield City Council under which it will carry out the work to renovate the landmark grade II* listed buildings and make them home to a vibrant, mixed community.

The agreements, signed on Christmas Eve, pave the way for years of development to be turned into reality. An application for detailed planning permission is now expected to be submitted in mid-2007.

The development will completely renovate the 1961 flats to provide a mix of homes, including:

634 for sale on the open market,

200 for rent through Manchester Methodist Housing Association, and

40 available under a shared ownership scheme.

The social/affordable housing will be spread in a random "pepperpot" style, dotted among the owner-occupied apartments. The Housing Corporation is providing 9.85m funding towards the cost of the affordable housing for rent in the development.



Knight Frank instructs Forsters on relocation to new global headquarters

Property law firm Forsters has acted for Knight Frank LLP, the leading independent global property consultancy, on its lease for a new global headquarters building at 55 Baker Street, London W1.

Knight Frank has exchanged contracts with London and Regional Baker Street Ltd to lease part of its new landmark Central London development for its new 80,000 sq ft headquarters. The new office is undergoing a comprehensive redevelopment by London and Regional ready for Knight Frank to take full occupation early in 2008.

Forsters' senior partner Sophie Hamilton acted for Knight Frank, along with construction partner Sarah Cook who is advising on the construction elements of the redevelopment. Keith Barnett at Taylor Wessing acted for London and Regional Baker Street Limited.

Knight Frank has been headquartered in Hanover Square for the last 96 years, since March 1910. In its new global HQ, it will co-locate its commercial and residential teams over three large predominantly open plan floorplates. This is part of the Company?s strategy of capitalising on its ability to truly offer all its clients a multi-disciplined property consultancy service.

Nick Thomlinson, senior partner and chairman, Knight Frank LLP said: "Forsters' expertise and responsiveness has been critical in helping us achieve our original goal which was to remain in W1, and be on no more than three floors in an impressive landmark building. The new HQ will allow us to fulfil our ambitious growth plans. The design of the interior will be reflective of Knight Frank's vision and future, making our headquarters a place where clients will want to meet and our staff will be inspired to work."

Sophie Hamilton commented: "We work with Knight Frank on a frequent basis, and have strong relationships with a large number of people in the firm, so we are delighted to represent them in this historic relocation. We are particularly pleased that they will remain close neighbours."