Formal Investments adds Hydro at Magna Park

Formal Investments Ltd yesterday [July 9] completed its acquisition of Hydro, the 425,952 sq ft distribution warehouse at Magna Park near Lutterworth in Leicestershire.

Pre-let to the international furniture manufacturing and retailing group Steinhoff, Hydro expands Formal Investments’ interests in warehousing and distribution.

In 2010 Formal Investments acquired a 115,000 sq ft warehouse in Rugby subsequently let to TNT Post. And in December 2011 they acquired Western Approach in Avonmouth, Bristol, which was also pre-let to Steinhoff.

The diversification into warehousing and distribution centres has taken place in parallel with Formal Investments’ continued activity in its core business of transforming buildings into premium office space in cities.

The business has recently upgraded Railway House in Gloucester, purchased Trinity Court in Exeter and this week commenced work at 21 Queen Street in Leeds’ Central Business District.

Bought by Formal Investments for an undisclosed price, Hydro was built in 2005 with an emphasis on low running costs and environmental sustainability. It is within the 500 acre Magna Park, the UK’s premier distribution location in the ‘golden triangle’ between the M1, M6 and M69.

Steinhoff International’s UK arm includes the retail brands Bensons for Beds, Harveys and Sleepmasters. Details of the lease are not disclosed.

Nicholas King, a director at Formal Investments, said: “As one of the largest distribution centres in the UK, in the wonderfully accessible location of Magna Park, Hydro is an asset of the highest quality. Warehousing and distribution is an exciting sector for us to be developing in and Hydro illustrates the scale of our ambitions and prospects for continued growth.”

Formal Investments was advised by: Bruce Hodges Property Services & Consultants; Robert Shacklock at Louch Shacklock & Partners; Christian Smith at GBR Phoenix Beard in Birmingham; and Jason Jackson and Cherry Hancock of Shoosmiths Solicitors, Birmingham.

Cherry Hancock, the partner at law firm Shoosmiths who led on the deal, said: “This is one of the most significant acquisitions in this market in recent years. It was an exciting project to have a pivotal role in, with the need to get due diligence done accurately and efficiently so the deal could be driven over the finishing line.”

Robert Shacklock said: “This was a very exciting project with which to get involved, especially after the recent formation of Louch Shacklock & Partners. We were delighted to represent Formal Investments in the acquisition of Hydro, a landmark distribution centre and one of the last remaining facilities in excess of 400,000 square feet in the Midlands.

“We were also pleased to work alongside Bruce Hodges Property Services & Consultants and GBR Phoenix Beard in bringing this transaction forward to a successful conclusion.”