December 2013 news archive


IM Properties has completed two further lettings at Phoenix House, marking the end of an extremely successful year at the Milton Keynes property.

Network Rail has taken a 2,800 sq ft ground floor retail unit on a five year lease, with the space set to be used as a first-of-its-kind ‘Doddle’ parcel delivery and fulfilment centre, while
Greggs, the UK’s leading “bakery food on the go” retailer has taken a 1,000 sq ft unit.

Network Rail will be using the unit to pilot its Doddle parcel collection service, designed to provide a convenient parcel collection and drop-off service for passengers while generating additional revenue to be invested in the rail network.

Peter Louden, Project Director, said: “As a parcel collection facility, it was vital that we identified a location that was close to a major rail station and as accessible as possible for all our customers.  Phoenix House’s central location with a number of large businesses and transport hubs near by means people can get to Doddle by rail, bus, foot and car, which we hope will be key to its success.”

Phoenix House is located in Station Square, adjacent to Milton Keynes railway station, just minutes from the motorway network. As part of its extensive programme of refurbishments, IM Properties repurposed the ground floor units to create space that would be attractive to a range of retail occupiers.

Simon Heydecke, Greggs Regional Property Manager (SE) said: “Phoenix House represents an excellent retail opportunity for Greggs, with its surrounding offices and the adjacent station.  Both the space and location are perfect for our new “Bakery Food On The Go” format which comprises a contemporary interior that draws on Greggs’ bakery heritage, designed to meet the demands of the modern retail environment and busy Food On The Go shoppers”

The property is surrounded by blue chip companies including Santander, KPMG and HSBC. 

Rob Hemus, IM Properties, said: “The lettings to Network Rail and Greggs further demonstrate the flexibility offered by Phoenix House in attracting a wide range of occupiers, both commercial and retail.  We are continuing to see positive interest in Phoenix House as a location, which is testament to the quality of both the building itself and Milton Keynes as a business and leisure destination.

“The activity that we have seen this year alone is a clear indication of the value and quality offered by Phoenix House and a prime example of our commitment to provide first rate, strategically located buildings.”

This has been an exceedingly successful year for IM’s Milton Keynes property, which has seen a number of new lettings and extensions to existing occupiers’ requirements, with AirWatch adding a further 5,500 sq ft to its 20,500 sq ft of existing office space and The Gym taking a new lease of 15,500 sq ft.

Phoenix House is being jointly let by Louch Shacklock & Partners and Cushman & Wakefield with remaining space including circa 8,000 sq ft on the first floor and circa 4,000 sq ft on the ground floor.

For more information, contact Jonathan Whittle at Louch Schacklock & Partners on 01908 224763 or Scott Rutherford (Offices) or Ed Purcell (Retail) at Cushman & Wakefield on 0121 232 4900.


IM Properties has completed a pre-let to retail giant John Lewis for a 50,000 sq ft Customer Delivery Hub distribution facility at Solihull Business Park.

The building is the first of John Lewis’ new customer delivery hubs which will focus on efficiently providing a core service of Customer Deliveries.

The distribution centre will be designed to achieve an EPC rating of A, Grade A specification offices and BREEAM Excellent status.

Nigel Harris, Property Manager at John Lewis, said: “The Customer Delivery Hub will provide a dedicated service building to support our exisiting and future stores in the area and enhance our network to support the growth in Online. 

“Given the function of the Building it was vital that we found an accessible location situated in the heart of the West Midlands region with good access to the motorway network.  Solihull Business Park ticked all of the boxes.”

Sitting just off the A34 Stratford Road, Solihull Business Park is located at the heart of the national transport network, with Junction 4 of the M42 just a mile away and Birmingham Airport and railway station both within easy reach. 

The site has existing planning permission for approximately 150,000 sq ft of office, industrial and distribution units.

Lewis Payne, Development Manager at IM Properties, said: “We knew that Solihull Business Park was an exciting acquisition for IM Properties and to agree a pre-let to John Lewis within 6 months of acquiring the Park speaks volumes about both the quality of the site and its location within easy reach of the UK’s transport networks.  We are delighted to be involved in this important project for John Lewis.

“The lack of available development sites around the region and especially in Solihull means that this land is well placed to attract occupiers, particularly suppliers to the Midlands’ fast-growing automotive sector and internet retail fulfilment companies.”
The deal with John Lewis has prompted IM Properties to submit a reserved matters application for two additional industrial and distribution buildings of 30,000 sq ft and 50,000 sq ft respectively. 

Lewis continued: “obtaining planning permission for two further buildings at the Park will enable us to deliver buildings in around six months on a design and build basis putting us in an incredibly strong position, particularly in a market with growing occupier confidence and a lack of available good quality space.”

Pending approval of the reserved matters application, IM will undertake construction of the Customer Delivery Hub, with the building expected to be complete by Autumn 2014, ready for John Lewis to fulfil online orders in the run up to Christmas.

Solihull Business Park is fully serviced with infrastructure, including estate roads and key utilities in place, enabling buildings to be delivered quickly on a design and build basis to suit specific occupation requirements.

IM Properties completed the purchase of the 10.44 acre development site in June from Wilson Bowden Developments as part of its ongoing strategy to acquire key employment sites in the West Midlands.

GVA and Savills act as joint agents for IM Properties on Solihull Business Park. John Lewis was represented by Jones Lang LaSalle.


IM Properties has appointed Richard Lawrence as Development Director, providing additional support for its Development team.

Richard, formerly a director at the Birmingham office of Colliers International, has over 15 years of experience in the property industry, with a particular focus on industrial and logistics sector.

Richard brings a diverse experience to the role, having worked with a variety of occupiers, developers and funds over the course of his career.

Richard said: “This is a great opportunity that has come along at a point where both the market and economy are improving and I’m looking forward to working on large-scale projects like The Hub in Birmingham and identifying new opportunities. There’s a great culture at the business and I’m really pleased to be a part of it.

“IM Properties is one of the largest privately owned property companies in the UK, having been very active in both the development and investment sectors, despite the tough economic conditions of the last few years.

“IM have listened to the demands of the market and announced the first speculatively constructed distribution units since the downturn at Birch Coppice earlier this year. They have also been active in securing strategic and readily developable land.”

Kevin Ashfield, Development Director at IM Properties, said: “Richard has acted for us in his capacity as an agent for a long time, so we knew that he had exactly the right credentials that we were looking for. As a business, we are focussed on new opportunities and securing tenants across our development portfolio.  Richard’s experience and contacts will be crucial in delivering this strategy.”