Helicopter logistics hub soars to double IAS award win

L-R: Jamie Hockaday of Graftongate, Rory Bremner and Andrew Owen of CBRE Investors.

A single-site logistics scheme in Somerset that will be used by Leonardo Helicopters, has been recognised in two categories at this year’s Industrial Agents Society (IAS) Awards.

The new high-tech warehouse at West Hendford, Yeovil has won Best Agency Initiative and Deal of the Year – 100,000 sq ft to 250,000 sq ft at the annual industrial and logistics property awards at JW Marriott Grosvenor House in London.

The double award win recognises the complexity of a unique transaction which has paved the way for the development of the state-of-the-art facility on a 10-acre brownfield site.

The scheme is the result of several years of discussions between leading commercial property developer Graftongate, Leonardo and its third-party logistics provider, Kuehne+Nagel.

Eight existing warehouses are being consolidated into a single, c.210,000 sq ft logistics hub, which will support Leonardo’s global fleet of helicopters through the storage of components and tooling.

Under the terms of the deal, Leonardo has the right to purchase the freehold interest in the new building for just £1.00 on expiry of a 35-year FRI lease.

The development is being fully funded by a local government pension scheme, advised by CBRE Investment Advisory, and is being built by GMI Construction Group. It is expected to be complete in Q4 2022.

Jamie Hockaday, Director at Graftongate: “This is a truly unique transaction and these two awards go some way to recognising the complexity and calibre of what we have all achieved.

“While cost savings and efficiency were inherent to this single site solution, it was of equal significance that there should be no capital cost to Leonardo in developing the new facility – yet it also wanted to own the building on completion. We formulated the concept of a long-dated distribution ‘income strip’, whereby the annual rent payable does not exceed the level of existing lease liabilities, the capital outlay is funded by a third party and Leonardo can acquire the building in the future at a nominal value. It is a once in a career transaction.”

The IAS Awards celebrate the success and achievements of leading agents, owners, occupiers, developers and funders of industrial and logistics real estate and are widely regarded as the industry’s premier networking event.

This year’s awards was hosted by impressionist and comedian, Rory Bremner and attracted the largest attendance in its 35-year history.