abrdn’s AIPUT fund (Airport Industrial Property Unit Trust) has announced the freehold acquisition of Trade City Luton.
Trade City Luton forms part of the Kingsway Industrial Estate, located in the heart of Luton. This new industrial park, offering a range of highly flexible units between 5,000 and 27,000 sq ft, is positioned to appeal to first and last mile logistics occupiers, making the most of Luton’s growing status as a rapidly expanding commuter town and multi-modal logistics hub, with easy access to a local population of over 1 million. Located on the A5065, the site is one mile from Junction 11 on the M1, four miles from the airport and within 15 miles of the M25. Trade City Luton benefits from excellent rail connectivity to the Midlands, North, south into London and to a number of major regional gateway ports.
This prime 125,000 sq ft industrial regeneration scheme, developed by Kier in 2021, supports around 250 jobs and dovetails well with AIPUT’s strategy to actively support the nation’s logistics and supply chain resilience by investing in the critical industrial infrastructure that UK plc needs in a post-Brexit and post-Covid world. The market-leading specification of the scheme – which includes EV charging stations and smart energy metering – supports AIPUT’s Net Zero strategy, achieving an EPC ‘A’ rating and BREEAM Very Good. Average headline rents at Trade City Luton stand at only £10 per sq ft, compared to £17 per sq ft typically available locally.
Trade City is proving to be a popular location for a wide range of business sectors, having attracted three new lettings already in 2022, including Evolution Ceramics, Euro Taste and Gopuff, each supporting wider economic growth and job creation in the local area. Only two units are currently vacant.
Nick Smith, Fund Manager for AIPUT, commented: “This latest addition to AIPUT’s industrial real asset portfolio represents our first investment in Luton, an incredibly well-connected but supply-constrained South-East town that is making huge strides in building back better following the brutal challenges of recent times.
“Trade City Luton represents a key step-change in our drive to transform the resilience of AIPUT’s portfolio, helping fulfil our lead strategy to decarbonise and diversify our industrial real assets in thriving gateway markets. Responsibly regenerating and investing in the very best highly energy-efficient and highly adaptable industrial property is critical to appeal to a new breed of first and last mile occupiers and their staff.
“Our goal is to leverage every opportunity here to use our asset management skills to unlock real long-term value for people and businesses, as much as working to enhance the bottom line. Key will be promoting and plugging into the greener transport of goods and people through Luton’s extensive multi-modal supply chain networks.”
Leigh Thomas, Managing Director for Keir Property commented: “This sale demonstrates our ability to develop, add value and secure key occupiers in key locations.”
AIPUT’s acquisition of Trade City Luton follows swiftly on the heels of the fund’s recent acquisition of Tesla’s Crawley HQ and the nearby 95,000 sq ft GIA Fleming Business Centre, both located in close proximity to Gatwick Airport.
AIPUT was advised by JLL and Eversheds Sutherland.