FirethornTrust secures construction finance for Bedfordshire logistics scheme

FirethornTrust has secured £32.73m of construction debt for the development of Ascent Logistics Park, a 24.5-acre speculative industrial site in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire.

Strategically situated by J11 of the M1, Ascent Logistics Park was purchased by Firethorn in March 2020, and has outline planning permission for 457,000 sq. ft. of grade-A midbox logistics space, to deliver eight units ranging from 12,000 sq ft to 130,000 sq ft.

The development loan will be provided by the international business of Federated Hermes’ Real Estate Debt Fund, which has financed another of Firethorn’s logistics schemes, a 325,000 sq ft site at Milton Ham, near Northampton.

Work is set to start at Ascent Logistics Park in Q1 2021, with the first units being delivered in Q3 2021.

Richard Whitby, Chief Financial Officer at Firethorn, comments: “A shortage of high quality industrial schemes coupled with the recent acceleration of e-commerce has resulted in strong occupier demand for midbox warehousing space; Ascent Logistics Park will fulfil an urgent requirement in this prime location where supply is currently limited.

“Given the current environment, we are seeing excellent interest from lenders who are keen to increase their exposure to the logistics market for the best sponsors. We’re excited to have agreed a deal with Federated Hermes, and to work with the team once again to progress this significant industrial scheme.”

Ben Patton, Head of Real Estate Debt at the international business of Federated Hermes, added: “We are pleased to have been able to further support the growth of FirethornTrust’s logistics platform. This is a sector that we believe has strong investment fundamentals in a challenging wider market and which we are continuing to look to increase our own exposure to.”

Firethorn was advised by JLL debt advisory team and Stephenson Harwood LLP. Federated Hermes was advised by Paragon and BCLP.