Its been another busy year for Charles Clowes’ Derbyshire-based Clowes Developments as it continues to develop its commercial, industrial and residential sites.
The firm has been granted planning permission to build offices on the Ivanhoe Business Park in Ashby-de-la-Zouch. It’s the first speculative development to take place in the area for many years, and a sign that the sluggish commercial property market might at last be on the move.
In addition the company’s Castlewood scheme is proving to be a successful investment. The site is seeing the construction of a 500,000 sq ft distribution centre for the Co-op, and a 60,000 sq ft bespoke unit for international technology business Meridian Lightweight Technologies. Engineering company Midland Aerospace has taken 40,000 sq ft of prime production space which it is turning into a world-class engineering facility.
In 2011 Clowes Developments handed over a giant distribution warehouse in Castle Donington to Marks & Spencer to service their online operations. The one million sq ft distribution centre is providing jobs for up to 1,000 people.
In 2010 the 72 year-old Derbyshire entrepreneur bought a 300-acre industrial and distribution portfolio from Wilson Bowden Developments at a very keen £46 million, increasing the value of Clowes Developments overnight.
Clowes Developments net asset value now sits at more than £62 million, with an impressive portfolio.
Several years ago it was rumoured that Charles Clowes was seeking a quiet exit from the property business, looking to sell the business for a reported £300 million. But market conditions have changed and in the meantime Clowes Developments, of which Charles Clowes has 100 per cent control, continues to build up its investment and development portfolio.
The company was established more than 40 years ago and has an impressive record of commercial, retail and residential development. These include industrial parks, industrial land in Corby, Birmingham, Wednesfield, Castle Donnington and the Dove Valley Park in Derbyshire. Lettings have continued apace, with tenants moving into properties on the Centrix Business Park in Corby, the East Midlands Distribution Centre and the Bentley Bridge Business Park.
In the summer of 2010 Clowes placed a multi-million contract with Network Rail to provide a rail connection to the 200-acre East Midlands distribution centre in Castle Donington. The link serves a new railfreight terminal on the National Distribution Park, allowing train access directly from the park to seaports at Hull and Felixstowe, as well as linking up with the pan-European rail network.
Clowes Developments’ investment properties include three in central London – in Harley Street, Eaton Place and Edgware Road.
Clowes Homes, from offices in Long Eaton, has residential developments in Burton on Trent, Leicester and Derbyshire.
Charles Clowes is a Derby County supporter and nine years ago, when the club was £30 million in debt, he put together a consortium bid, along with former Rams chairman Stuart Webb. However, he later withdrew from the bidding.