Investra acquires rare speculative office development opportunity in Guildford

Lambert Smith Hampton, acting on behalf of The Wilky Group, has sold a 0.64 acre development site in Mary Road, Guildford for £3.45m to Investra Capital. The Pembroke House site has planning consent for an office development of 29,927 sq ft (NIA) on three floors, to provide a BREEAM Very Good building. This will provide the first speculative office development seen in Guildford for some time.

Boutique investment and development house, Investra, was keen to secure this site as there are very few office development opportunities in Guildford town centre with which to take advantage of growing rental values. Construction is planned to start in Q3 2016 and completion is due in Q4 2017.

Charlie Lake, director of capital markets, Lambert Smith Hampton, comments: “The marketing of the Pembroke House site attracted written proposals for a variety of potential alternative uses. The acquisition by Investra, who intends to speculatively develop the consented scheme, is a reflection of market confidence in the tightly constrained Guildford office market and forecast continued liquidity in the capital market.”

Nick Hornby, development director at Investra, explains: “Guildford has always been a tight office centre with limited future development sites. With the exciting new master plan for the town, we saw an opportunity to capitalise on these dynamics. This acquisition takes our development portfolio to over £100m GDV, having started only 18 months ago.”

Pembroke House is set in a riverside location five minutes away from Guildford train station (itself due for a proposed £150m redevelopment programme) and the town’s shopping centre. When completed, it will represent one of very few new grade A office space in Guildford available for occupiers.

Paul Dowson, director of office agency, Lambert Smith Hampton, adds: “With prime headline rents already hitting £31.50 per sq ft, availability standing at under 7% of total built stock and no grade A construction in progress in the town centre, this site provided a prime investment and occupational opportunity.”

Malcolm Young, Chairman and CEO of The Wilky Group, adds: “Having achieved planning consent, this strategic sale has generated working capital and freed us up to take forward various other development and regeneration opportunities in our portfolio of commercial properties and sites across the South East.”

Lambert Smith Hampton acted on behalf of The Wilky Group on the disposal. Bray Fox Smith advised Investra on the purchase. Lambert Smith Hampton and Bray Fox Smith are joint letting agents for the new development.