The owners of Brindleyplace are set to put three of its prime buildings up for sale in an unprecedented show of confidence in the commercial property market.
The Brindleyplace Limited Partnership (TBLP), which is made up of developer Argent and a number pension funds and investors, hopes to raise up to £110million from the sale which will then be ploughed back into the estate.
The sale of Seven, Eight and Ten Brindleyplace - which are all currently occupied by RBS - will undoubtedly be the biggest commercial property sale in the city this year and Gary Taylor, joint managing director of Argent (UK Developments) - which also manages Brindleyplace on behalf of the partnership - admitted the timing was not perfect but said they were extremely positive about the move.
He said: “The limited partnership was established in 2003 with a six year life-span and we had always said we would offer investors an exit in 2009. Having looked at our options we feel that there is a growing optimism out there and we think it is the right time go to the market now because who knows where we might be six months or a year down the line.
“There is no doubt it will be a good bellwether of the market and we are confident because this is Brindleyplace and we have the award-winning environment as a key selling point.
“The important point to make is that this is certainly not a case of us selling out at Brindleyplace - this is about raising money for reinvestment in the estate. What we are doing is securing the long-term future of the estate. This is not about raising money that will then be spent somewhere else like Manchester.”
TBLP, which currently owns all the multi-let buildings at Brindleyplace, is made up by Argent, BT Pension Scheme (BTPS), Royal Mail Pension Plan (RMPP) and investment vehicle Tritax while the rest of the buildings on the estate are either owned outright by Argent or private investors.
Mr Taylor said the sale of the three buildings would enable a restructure of the limited partnership and give it the financial flexibility to ensure the estate remained one of the city’s leading business and leisure environments.
He said: “We are reaching stage when leases on many of the buildings are beginning to expire and significant investment will be needed to ensure the buildings meet the required specification to be re-let and we are already planning a refurbishment of Five Brindleyplace to bring it up to BREEAM excellent. There is also a view that the recently completed Eleven Brindleyplace could be brought into the limited partnership and this sale will give us the headroom to do that.”
Alex Turner, of Hermes Real Estate Investment Managers, responsible for managing the portfolio for BTPS and RMPP said: “Brindleyplace is a core investment asset for BTPS and RMPP. We have been investors here since 1998 and we are keen to remain involved. The characteristics of the lease profiles of the Estate changes over the next seven to ten years as leases begin to wind down, so this is an appropriate time to look at how we lay the foundations for the next investment phase.”