Money flows as investors acquire Waterfront units

Three units totalling over 80,000 sq ft have been sold as investments on Waterfront Business Park in Brierley Hill, demonstrating the development’s appeal and potential.

Units 2, 4 and 5, which are all fully tenanted, have been acquired by investors. Sized at 11,906 sq ft, 14,150 sq ft and 56,782 sq ft respectively, the sale of these units – which totals 82,838 sq ft, comes amid a flurry of activity at Waterfront Business Park.

The development is owned by Bridges Fund Management, recognised for acquiring and investing in strategically identified commercial property developments. The Park has been extremely popular since the investor acquired it in 2019. It was recently revealed that Unit 1 had secured almost 7,000 sq ft across two lettings to new occupiers, TEAM Software and Optical Express.

Nigel Tripp, Director of KWB, said: “Activity on the Park has been excellent in recent months, and that’s credit to Bridges, the work undertaken since acquisition, and the innate layout, quality and location of the development itself.”

Unit 2, a commercial unit of 11,906 sq ft, which is occupied by Royal Mail as a sorting office, has now been purchased by investors, Urban Logistics, which specialises in assets that deliver the ‘last mile’ of the supply chain to homes and businesses. The property was sold for £1.1 million – representing a net yield of 4.99%. Given the capital investments that Royal Mail has committed to the site, the tenant is expected to renew its lease, which is due to expire in 2023. In addition, the acquisition was underpinned by strong vacant possession values for industrial property.

Units 4 and 5, both occupied by Dudley College of Technology, have also been sold as investments. The college has transformed the space at Waterfront into its Construction Apprenticeship Training Centre (CAT Centre) and an Energy Training Hub, which offers full-cost certification in gas, electrical, renewables, refrigeration and health and safety. That CAT Centre includes dedicated facilities for traditional construction areas such as plumbing, electrical, painting and decorating, and carpentry and joinery, as well as modern technical and digital-focused skill sets.

Prior to their sale, KWB acted for Bridges Fund Management to maximise the investment’s appeal by regearing the leases on Units 4 and 5 with Dudley College.

For the sale itself, KWB worked alongside joint commercial property investment agent, AP Investment. Following two rounds of bidding, Units 4 and 5 were purchased for £3,925,000, reflecting a net initial yield (NIY) of 7.4%. The investor was AFH Wealth Management, which acquired the property on behalf of one its high-income property funds. The net yield will rise in 2024, following an agreed rental increase that will take place in January of the same year.

Nigel said: “The appreciating value of assets on Waterfront Business Park is demonstrated well by these sales. We see can that the work Bridges has undertaken at the site has enhanced its appeal to both occupiers and investors. The projected increase in value can also be attributed, in part, to the forthcoming Midland Metro link to Merry Hill – connecting it directly to Birmingham city centre.”

Currently under refurbishment, Unit 7 will shortly be coming to market and will be available for sale or to let, offering HQ offices of 32,965 sq ft. Unit 7’s high quality specification will feature new VRV air conditioning and a range of systems designed for air purification and green efficiency.

Max Shelley of Bulleys, joint agent for occupier sales and lettings at the Park, said: “Waterfront Business Park represents the highest quality office space in Brierley Hill and, at over 30,000 sq ft, Unit 7 is the largest available self-contained office building in the area, too.”