New owner to refurbish central Leeds building with sustainability in mind

Bridges Sustainable Property Fund, managed by fund manager Bridges Ventures, has completed the acquisition of prominent Leeds retail and office scheme in central Leeds, Airedale House on Albion St, and plans to refurbish it to include a number of environmentally friendly features.

Airedale House is situated in the heart of the City’s commercial district and comprises 26,337 sq ft of retail space and 15,056 sq ft of office accommodation with tenants including Slater Menswear and Co-op Travel. CBRE’s Leeds Capital Markets team acted for Bridges to acquire the property for a price in excess of £4M from Jones Lang LaSalle’s client, Helix Property Advisors who were advising Shay Property Investments.

The project represents a team effort for CBRE Leeds as the firm’s Building Consultancy division has been appointed to manage the sustainable refurbishment works and its Property Management team has also been instructed as managing agent.

Launched in 2009, the Bridges Sustainable Property Fund invests in buildings showing environmental leadership and properties in regeneration areas with the aim to generate strong financial returns as well as delivering a positive social and environmental impact.

The refurbishment plans for Airedale House will see the offices comprehensively upgraded to provide good quality accommodation designed with close attention paid to the sustainability of the building, including intelligent lighting, the most efficient air conditioning system currently available, and the use of energy harvesting technology through photovoltaic panels, all of which substantially reduce operational costs for tenants.

CBRE’s Building Consultancy team is currently working with the Bridges Ventures team to schedule the full programme of works which are anticipated to commence early in 2014.

Guy Bowden, Acquisitions Director at Bridges Ventures, said: “Airedale House occupies a strategic site in the heart of Leeds’ prime commercial area, a fact recognised by the tenants already in occupation within the building. Through the Bridges Sustainable Property Fund we have an excellent opportunity to take the building to a superior standard of environmental excellence. Occupiers recognise the cost benefits of working from an energy-efficient base and we are looking forward to implementing the green credentials and attracting new tenants to the available space.”

Alex Whiting, Senior Director of Capital Markets at CBRE, said; “Airedale House represented an ideal acquisition for Bridges Ventures with good rental returns and additional asset management opportunities. The office accommodation will launch at a welcome time in Leeds where supply of quality space is extremely limited and the proposed sustainable works will undoubtedly be of interest to potential new tenants.”

The Leeds office of Jones Lang LaSalle represented Helix Property Advisors on the sale. Mathew Atkinson, Director of Capital Markets said “The strong fundamentals and potential of the building attracted very good levels of interest from both local and national investors”.