21 huge North West commercial property deals you shouldn’t miss
There have been some enormous commercial property deals across the North West in recent weeks – involving household UK and worldwide business giants. It would appear the commercial property market is continuing its recovery from the pandemic, with various deals involving huge warehouses, city centre office blocks and even a well-known holiday park. Amazon, Hachette, Majestic and BLM are among the firms who have wasted no time in announcing big deals since our last roundup.
:Delivery firm announces plans to hire 50,000 more drivers as firm’s meteoric growth continues Here, BusinessLive rounds up 21 of those deals we feel you shouldn’t have missed: Got a commercial property story you want featured on BusinessLive?
Online retail giant Amazon has signed a 10-year lease on a huge warehouse in Merseyside, it has been revealed. The firm will take over a huge distribution centre in Knowsley, with the move announced by the local council last night – when the prospect of new jobs for the area was raised. The 217,000sq ft warehouse was built two years ago on Knowsley Business Park using a loan from the authority.
Beacon Fell View
Beacon Fell View Holiday Park, which has been sold for GBP11m
A Lancashire holiday park has been sold for GBP11m in one of the UK’s biggest deals of its type so far this year. Beacon Fell View in Lancashire was sold to Hill Brothers Residential & Leisure Parks in an off-market cash deal negotiated by Colliers on behalf of Hagans Leisure UK Ltd, it was revealed on Monday morning.
Hill Brothers said it is looking to grow further, and Tom Hill said: “I would like to thank Hagans Leisure. We see it as a great opportunity to expand our portfolio in the Ribble Valley, as parks of this quality and size don’t often come to the market in the North West, and we look forward to further expansion in this sector.”
Crown Paints dates back to 1777, and has its head offices in Darwen, Lancashire.
Lancashire-headquartered Crown Paints has chosen St Helens as its first location for a new store concept. The new Crown Decorating Centre is to open at Ravenhead Retail Park in early September and will aim to help customers “ace their home decorating projects by simplifying the journey from choosing the right paint, primers and techniques through to achieving incredible results”.
Crown Decorating Centres are usually tailored for trade professionals, however, the St Helens concept will be the first Crown store specifically designed to help retail customers throughout their decorating as well as tradespeople. Naiem Wafa, CDC network director, said: “Our Crown Decorating Centres have supported the trade community for many years. As DIY has skyrocketed during lockdown we recognised that home DIY-ers were also looking for specialist painting knowledge and expertise – and we love helping them find inspiration to transform their homes.
“Our colleagues in our Crown Decorating Centre have unparalleled knowledge, which means anyone can go from dreaming up the perfect space, to getting their job done perfectly. “St Helens is a great choice for us — we’re a business with a 200-year heritage in the UK –and we’re very excited to welcome customers in to help them learn more about colour and DIY expertise from our in-store professionals.”
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Two New Bailey in Salford
A leading insurance risk and commercial law firm will move its Manchester base to a 71,000 sq ft space at one of the city’s biggest, newest developments. BLM will move its staff to the Two New Bailey development in Salford – as the firm begins its new flexible working model that will see staff working remotely up to 50% of the time. BLM will relocate in August from its Manchester headquarters at King’s House, King Street West and Alberton House, St Mary’s Parsonage.
Crown Oil is now running its entire fleet on vegetable oil
North West fuels and lubricants group Crown Oil has acquired one of the region’s huge business parks – as well as announcing it has become the first UK supplier to run all of its oil delivery vehicles on hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO).
The Bury firm said it is now running its entire fleet on renewable diesel as it commits to reduce its direct CO2 greenhouse gas emissions by 90%. The Heap Bridge business, part of the GBP420m-turnover Crown Oil family of companies, predicts a saving of around 3,080 tonnes of CO2 in 12 months.
Wine retailer Majestic has opened a store in Knutsford
Wine retailer Majestic has opened a store in Knutsford, its first new site in the North of England for almost a decade. The new outlet has become the retailer’s 201st store in the UK as its plans to expand its bricks-and-mortar retail estate continue.
It is also the latest store opening for the retailer since the 2019 acquisition by Fortress Investment, which has seen four new branches opened in the last 12 months with a further 16 in the pipeline. Majestic CEO John Colley said: “Whilst some retailers have seen the past 12 months as an opportunity to pull back from face to face retail, we’re pleased to be doing quite the opposite, as our new site in Knutsford shows. “I couldn’t be prouder of the work that our store colleagues have done throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, helping all our customers – new and loyal – to discover the wines, beers and spirits they’ll love, while balancing the extraordinary operational challenges brought on by the pandemic.”
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Briggs Marine’s new Liverpool office
A world leader in marine and environmental services has opened three new offices in Liverpool, Aberdeen and Canada.
Scottish firm Briggs Marine said it has opened the offices to support increasing new business, as well as growth within existing contracts across the organisation. Briggs said its new UK offices in Aberdeen and Liverpool will operate as regional hubs to accommodate local growth as well as providing support to local projects, with the company’s HQ remaining in Burntisland, Scotland. Headcount has also increased by 50 people since December 2020.
Hudgell Solicitors’ legal team
Hudgell Solicitors has expanded its office space at 1 St Peter’s Square in Manchester.
Chief executive Rachel Di Clemente has also revealed the firm is currently recruiting for a number of experienced solicitors to grow its serious injury team. A second office space in the building complex has been acquired to accommodate the increasing North West team. The CEO said: “As a business we’re still completely committed to investment, recruitment and growth, and increasing our offering from Manchester is our next step.
“We recently took a considered decision to base our core work out of two operational office hubs, which are at our headquarters in Hull and in this office in Manchester, where we have built an established reputation over the past three years, growing our work substantially in travel litigation and civil liberties.”
Circle Square – the location for Agent’s new Manchester office
Liverpool brand and communications agency Agent has announced its new Manchester office will be at Bruntwood SciTech’s No.2 Circle Square. The Baltic Triangle-based firm said the expansion for both the agency and its sister training company Agent Academy follows “strong growth” and a record 12 months for the firm. The business joins giants such as Accenture, KPMG and Hewlett Packard Enterprise at the development.
Hachette has opened its new office at Blackfriars in Manchester
The UK’s second largest book publisher has opened a new national office in Manchester as part of a national expansion programme set to create five new sites.
Hachette UK said the new Manchester site at Blackfriars House will be the first of five new offices set to open over the next three months – with the other four set to be in Newcastle, Bristol, Edinburgh and Sheffield. The office openings will see nearly 60 London-based staff relocate across the UK, after earlier plans were put on hold as a result of the pandemic.
Chancerygate intends to deliver units at Chadderton, similar to the one shown (Image: Andrew Hendry)
Developer Chancerygate, which has an office in Warrington, has acquired plot 3000 at Broadway Green in Chadderton, near Oldham, to speculatively build 108,662 sq ft of industrial and urban logistics space. The developer acquired the 6.58-acre site for GBP3.8m from FO Developments which is a consortium comprising Oldham Council, Grasscroft Property and Seddon Developments.
The consortium delivered the wider Broadway Green development which is a 121-acre mixed-use scheme on former agricultural land in the Chadderton and Foxdenton Boroughs of Oldham. Ultimately it will have up to 700,000 sq ft of employment space. In addition, there will be 500 new homes and 25 acres of public open space in a linear park.
The Chancerygate development at Broadway Green is set to comprise two terraces of units ranging from 7,000 sq ft to 15,000 sq ft and one single unit of 25,618 sq ft. Units will be available freehold or leasehold and the scheme will have a gross development value of around GBP16m.
CoolMed’s new HQ in Trafford
A Manchester-based medical refrigeration specialist is expanding to a new premises four times the size of its old HQ with turnover on target to more than double due to its efforts in helping the UK’s vaccine rollout. CoolMed has moved to its new 5,200sq ft home in Trafford Park, and attributes its rapid growth to meeting current demand for support in the UK’s vaccine roll-out, and forecasts future growth to supply refrigeration for a booster jab programme in autumn as the UK battles new variants and strains of Covid-19.
In the past year, CoolMed has supplied 1,900 medical refrigerators, won a three-year contract to exclusively supply all Lloyds Pharmacy and Lloyds Pharmacy clinical homecare medical-grade refrigerators, and signed a deal with McKesson – the billion-dollar American pharmaceutical distributor.
The Anchorage office scheme in Salford Quays, Manchester
A landmark Manchester office development has been sold to a global private equity firm. Anchorage 1 and Anchorage 2 in Salford Quays have been acquired by Investcorp after having had “great success” with lettings at the latter over the 12 months prior to the pandemic. A refurbishment of Anchorage 1 was completed by Canmoor and HIG last year, meaning Citivale, which will act as asset manager for Investcorp, can lease the remaining 28,000 sq ft of office accommodation.
eStar Truck and Van Ltd
Mercedes-Benz dealer signs deal for two huge units at major Mersey business park
A Mercedes-Benz franchisee and commercial vehicle specialist has signed a deal for two huge units at a Merseyside business park, meaning it is now fully let.
North West-based vehicle dealer eStar Truck and Van Ltd has let the final two units of Element on Alchemy Business Park in Knowsley – taking units of 22,946sq ft and 45,586sq ft – a total of 68,532 on 15-year terms. The deal was agreed with real estate developer Network Space at Element, the second phase of development at the park.
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A Card Factory shop (Image: East Kilbride News)
Card Factory has opened a new store at the Grand Junction Retail Park, Crewe. The opening of the new shop has created about six jobs for the retail park at various levels, both full and part time.
Retail director Steve Lilley said: “Our team have been working incredibly hard to prepare for this new opening and we’re so excited to be launching another Card Factory store in Crewe, especially due to the difficult economic environment retailers have experienced recently. “As with all of our physical stores, safety is the number one priority as we welcome customers through our doors, so we would like to reassure everyone that we have a strict cleaning regime, and that we also follow the latest Government guidelines to ensure the safety of both our customers and colleagues.”
The Kleen-Tex team at its new Europe HQ at Birchwood Park, Warrington
The North West’s largest out-of-town business destination has welcomed a global manufacturer of commercial and residential floor mats to the site. US firm Kleen-Tex is the latest firm to announce a move to Warrington-based Birchwood Park following an “extensive search” for its new European HQ.
The firm, founded in the 1960s and based in Atlanta, Georgia, said its mats are found across the world – including at offices, banks, hotels and for sporting facilities – including for the 2021 Champions League.
The Furniture Practice
37 King Street, Manchester
The Furniture Practice has signed a 10-year lease to occupy the fourth floor of 37 King Street in Manchester city centre. The company will take up the 1,951 sq ft space and relocate from serviced offices at Dalton Place, operated by WeWork. Founded in 1997, The Furniture Practice helps clients make the best furniture decisions, drawing on design-led knowledge, emerging trends and experience of working with leading global businesses.
OBI advised on the transaction and has also been appointed to design the new workspace and manage the fit out.
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Landwood Group has signed terms on a new Manchester office
National chartered surveyor Landwood Group has signed terms on a new Manchester office. Landwood’s Manchester team will occupy a 1,500 sq ft space on the second floor of Lancaster Buildings at 77 Deansgate, signing a five-year lease . OBI advised BCL Legal, the owner of the building, on the transaction.
Mark Bailey, managing director of Landwood Group, said: “Landwood has experienced strong growth over the past year – including a rise in headcount – but we wanted to move into a smaller, more agile and a more welcoming office space. “With staff working from home at least two times a week, we really had to ask ourselves whether we needed the space we had pre-Covid and we came to the conclusion that we didn’t.”
Bradley Hall Trading Estate in Wigan, which has been sold for over GBP20m
A North West developer has sold a vast trading estate for over GBP20m, with proceeds set to be reinvested into “new opportunities and developments”. HIMOR has sold Bradley Hall Trading Estate in Wigan to Stenprop, a multi-let industrial owner operator, with the GBP20.6m sale reflecting a net initial yield of 6.43%.
The multi-let estate, which HIMOR has owned since 2005, comprises 296,824 sq ft of commercial space.
Wirral International Business Park
Acting on behalf of Mileway, the pan-European last mile logistics real estate company, joint property agents Legat Owen and B8RE have agreed two new deals at Plantation Park on Wirral International Business Park in Bromborough, Merseyside. The community food hub charity, Too Good to Waste has taken 10,688 sq ft on a five-year lease and civil engineering firm DT Hughes has taken a two-year lease on 7,392 sq ft. Existing tenant Abbey Logistics has also renewed its leases on 137,000 sq ft for 10 years.
Rita Lewis from Too Good To Waste, said: “Taking the lease on 17a Planation has been the catalyst for supporting our community with much needed food. “We are setting up to support 250 small food groups across Wirral, Cheshire and North Wales to provide the safe and clean storage of food to provide easy access for our members to collect their food from. “This unit has been a Godsend and the building works so well for us to deliver a great community project.”
Neill Wood, managing director of Moss Industrial Estate, and Vincent Priest, managing director of LPD Electrical
Independent electrical wholesaler LPD Electrical has moved into new premises at Moss Industrial Estate, Leigh.
Founder and managing director Vincent Priest said: “Our new unit is much bigger and brighter than our old unit and it is extremely visible.
We have had so many people dropping in asking if we are a new business, because they have never seen us before.
“We now have a huge front counter to serve our customers and we can display more stock out front, as well as a much larger range of goods in our warehouse area.”
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