Client: Albion Land
Services: Acquisition, planning and development consultancy, disposals and lettings
Over a number of years, we have had discussions with Albion Land about their requirement to acquire development sites in the South East of England. Albion Land is a leading commercial property development company that delivers high quality bespoke facilities for occupiers. In 2013, we identified a site that could potentially be acquired for our client. We believed the 10 acre industrial estate ‘Bourne End Mills’, situated just off the A41 west of Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire, would make an excellent development opportunity.
Brasier Freeth initiated discussions with the owners on behalf of Albion Land and the Brasier Freeth Team provided a substantial amount of information in relation to tenure, planning and rent/pricing to support the purchase bid. Albion Land was the successful bidder and exchanged contracts for the purchase conditional on obtaining planning consent.
Just minutes from the M25, this prime site had a chequered history in planning terms with a consent in place for a 150,000 sq. ft. distribution warehouse, but subject to restrictions on hours of use and restricted height.
Having failed to achieve planning consent in late 2014 for an improved Warehouse scheme Albion persevered and working with our Team was able to find a solution suitable for both the client and the planning authorities. In April 2015, after lengthy consultations between the various parties, Albion took a view that an adjusted but workable scheme could be progressed and the site was purchased for just over £6 million.
Albion Land continued to negotiate with the Local Planning Authority with the result that approximately half the site gained planning permission for a residential development and half for a multi-unit industrial scheme targeted at owner/occupiers.
As a commercial developer, Albion Land did not wish to develop the residential site and instructed Brasier Freeth to sell it. This was undertaken in the Autumn of 2016 and a sale price of over £9 million was achieved.
Meanwhile, Albion commenced development of the 70,000 sq. ft. 12 unit industrial scheme named Network 41. Construction started in April 2016 and Brasier Freeth offered the opportunities to the market off plan. Despite it being immediately pre and then post the Brexit referendum, we experienced strong interest and swiftly all the small units were placed under offer to owner/occupiers at or above the asking prices.
The scheme completed at the end of February 2017 and all 12 units were sold.
The one larger unit of 30,397 sq. ft. was sold to an investor and Brasier Freeth was subsequently instructed to find a tenant. The Team immediately acted on this instruction and the unit letting completed in April 2017.
Brasier Freeth’s Property Management Department has also subsequently been instructed to manage the common parts of the industrial estate.