Blue Marble sells North East distribution facility

Birmingham-based Blue Marble Asset Management (Blue Marble) has sold a prime County Durham industrial / distribution warehouse in only three weeks, for £2.6 million.

Acting on behalf of investor Pemberstone, Tim Matthews, Chief Executive of real estate asset management company Blue Marble, sold the 41,400 sq ft distribution facility, with four acres of land, at Drum Industrial Estate, Chester-le-Street, DH2 1ST, to H W Martin (Plant) Limited. Pemberstone and Blue Marble were advised by industrial property specialist HTA Real Estate.

The warehouse will provide H W Martin (Traffic Management) Limited with a new North East depot and office facilities. The firm, which forms part of the Martin Group of Companies, has recently secured a five year contract with Highways England, which is one of the key drivers for the acquisition.

Blue Marble first acquired the freehold investment in the premises, on Pemberstone’s behalf, in October 2014, and has pro-actively managed the asset since then. With the sale, it has realised a total return on capital of more than 55% in three years.

Mr Matthews says: “We had to negotiate the surrender of the existing lease, as the new owner also wanted to occupy the distribution facility, and move fast to secure the deal in only three weeks. The sale delivers a strong capital return to our client, as part of our on-going planned investment strategy.”

HTA has an even longer history with the building, letting it to HMY Group in one of the first deals brokered by the industrial property agent after its launch in December 2013.

Nick Atkinson, director at HTA Real Estate says: “This was a very rare opportunity to purchase a modern high bay warehouse with extensive external storage area and over four acres of expansion land. This sale is the latest chapter in our involvement with a building which has always appealed to occupiers, particularly because of its expansion capability.”

The Martin Group employ some 650 people nationwide and will be undertaking additional recruitment in the North East for the new operating centre.

A family owned business, the Martin Group was originally established in 1972 and now owns a number of business interests in the construction, traffic management, engineering and waste recycling industries.