After nearly four months of negotiations one of Britain’s largest privately owned property companies has paid close to £125m for a distressed Midland’s business park.
IM Properties — which already owns several sites in the Solihull area — has now bought Blythe Valley Park out of receivership. Just five minutes from Solihull town centre and Birmingham Airport, the 260-acre site is one of the region’s most prominent business developments.
The acquisition is the second major investment by the Lord Bob Edmiston-controlled company which paid £44m in 2013 for Solihull’s Mell Square Shopping Centre. It also owns Solihull Business Park and recently acquired Fore Business Park.
Adjacent to Junction 4 of the M42 motorway, Blythe Valley Park is split into two phases. The first has 430,000 sq ft of existing accommodation spread across 11 buildings. Phase two, at the rear of the site, covers 44 acres of undeveloped land. A 135-acre country park which bounds the site also forms part of the purchase.
Among the existing Blythe Valley tenants are consulting engineers Arup, Siemens Plc, Balfour Beatty, virtual office provider Regus and St James’s Place Wealth Management Group.
Falling within the 2013 Solihull Local Plan, the park already has outline permission for around 1.5m sq ft of business space, with permission for a hotel and restaurant with sports facilities.
“Blythe Valley Park is the most prominent and renowned business park in the Midlands and represents IM Properties’ most significant ever acquisition,” commented John Hammond, UK investment director at the Coleshill-based group
“With key infrastructure in place and given the strong motorway connectivity this is one of the most desirable out of town office locations in the region and one of the most strategically located in the UK.
“This asset will draw on all of our in-house expertise to work closely with existing tenants, whilst trying to secure new occupiers to the park through design and build development opportunities, looking to capitalise on the positive signs of recovery that we have seen in the M42 office market.
“Alongside the commercial element of the site, we are looking to create more of a mixed-use offering to complement the existing and future developments,” he added.
Last year was an active period for IM, which currently has a global investment and development portfolio of £1bn across the UK, Europe and the United States. “It was also one in which we repositioned our investment portfolio to focus on the Midlands and the south east of England and the acquisition of Blythe Valley Park demonstrates our commitment to investing and developing in the West Midlands,” said Hammond.