KWB completes freehold sales in Birmingham office building

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Birmingham independent commercial property agency KWB has completed the sale of 25 office and retail units at 50 – 54 St Paul’s Square, a Grade II listed office building in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.

Acting on behalf of Bridges Fund Management, KWB sold the virtual freeholds of the office suites, bar and two retail units in the refurbished three storey, multi-occupancy building, with mortgage broker John Charcoal acquiring the final 1,036 sq ft self-contained office suite.

“Choosing to sell, rather than let, 25 units in a commercial property, in the same way as you would sell the long leaseholds in an apartment block, is still an unusual approach for investors to take, but one that has paid off handsomely for our client,” says KWB Director Nigel Tripp.

“We spotted the potential for strata sales at 50 – 54 St Paul’s Square when we first advised Bridges on its acquisition.  As a multi-let building it had a vacancy rate of 30%, but we realised that it had the potential to fulfil business owners’ desires to buy their own office premises, at a size which is rarely available, especially in a city centre.”

The 22 office units, ranging in size from 322 sq ft to 1,625 sq ft, were sold at prices from £175 to £190 psf.  A number were sold to the incumbent tenants. The majority of sales were to owner occupiers from a diverse range of businesses including solicitors, financial advisers and graphic designers.

Bridges, a specialist sustainable and impact investor, invests in property developments with the potential to deliver positive societal impact alongside attractive financial returns. Partner Guy Bowden, says: “50-54 St Paul’s Square met our criteria of investing in innovative projects which achieve high standards of sustainability and strong financial performance, as well as encouraging the growth of SMEs within Birmingham.”

Mr Tripp continues: “Driven by the tax advantages of Self Invested Pension Schemes, historically low interest rates, and banks willingness to lend, there is still a large pent up demand among business owners for office freeholds which should encourage more investors to consider the potential return on strata sales, especially in aesthetically appealing and improving areas such as the Jewellery Quarter.”

In addition to advising Bridges on acquisition and sales, KWB also provided property management, project management and asset management services for 50-54 St Paul’s Square.