July 2015 news archive


Warwickshire-based developer IM Properties has welcomed two new national retailers to its Mell Square shopping centre in Solihull town centre, enhancing the site’s tenant mix.

Outdoor clothing and equipment company Mountain Warehouse and Italian coffee chain Caffe Nero have both taken units at the scheme on 10 year leases.

The letting to Caffe Nero will be in addition to its current presence on Solihull High Street, while this represents Mountain Warehouse’s first premises in the town.

Alongside bringing in new brands, IM Properties is also relocating existing occupiers to ensure that they’re in the best premises to suit their needs and the wider scheme, with fashion retailer Fat Face recently transferred to 23 Mill Lane from a unit in the adjacent Drury Lane.

Rob Hemus, IM Properties, said: “Mell Square offers a diverse mix of tenants and the retention and addition of well-known, national brands as Fat Face and Caffè Nero shows that our focus is very clearly set on ensuring the continued improvement and development of the site as a key destination within Solihull town centre.”

As a part of this strategy, every Sunday from 12th July to the 2nd August, Mell Square is hosting ‘Sunnyhull’, a series of free to attend summer events.

Themed around Fashion, Health and Beauty, Food and Drink, Kids Week and Home and Garden, the four-week programme has included a wide range of family-friendly activities, including celebrity performances, workshops, food stalls, pop-up shops and a cinema, fashion labs and live music. 

The broad range of themes will provide tenants at Mell Square with an opportunity to actively promote and involve themselves in the events, as well as further establishing Mell Square as both a shopping destination and a day out for the whole family.

Rob Hemus added: “Our focus is to ensure that we are engaging with our tenants and centring on continually adding value and enhancing Mell Square’s position as a key retail location within Solihull, increasing both the number of visitors to the site and their dwell time.  We want to create a strong sense of place and identity as well as a great retail experience and a location in its own right.”

Since acquiring Mell Square from Aviva in 2013, IM Properties has been focused on positioning the shopping centre as a key mixed-use retail leisure destination, extending its stakeholding at the site through the purchase of further retail units.

Most recently, this has included the acquisition of two retail units at the entrance to Mell Square, currently occupied by Whitewall Galleries and Clarks Shoes, for £4.25 million.

IM Properties has also recently secured planning permission for the redevelopment of two units on the corner of High Street and Drury Lane, for the delivery of a 12,626 sq ft mixed-use office building, with a ground floor restaurant that is already under offer to a restaurant operator.

IM Properties’ aspirations for Mell Square will be complementary to the wider work being undertaken across the M42 corridor, including the extension to the runway at Birmingham Airport, delivery of HS2 and creation of UK Central.



IM Properties (IM), one of the UK’s largest privately-owned property investment and development businesses, has reported a rise in pre-tax profits of over 100% on the previous year.

Based in Coleshill in Warwickshire, the award-winning investment fund and developer has reported pre-tax profits of £33.2 million for the year to 31 December 2014, with a further £16 million of valuation gains on the investment portfolio.

The group increased its net assets from £324 million to £379 million, with the rental income on existing properties across its portfolio lifting by 3.4% to £39 million.  At the end of 2014, the total value of IM Properties’ investment portfolio stood at £577 million, an increase of £120 million from the start of the year.

The development division – including both commercial and residential developments – achieved a turnover of £87 million in 2014, creating a profit before tax of £10 million.

IM has established a significant development pipeline with property under construction increasing by £21m to £122 million. This is an area of the business which they are expecting will see further significant expansion in 2015, with the recent announcement of £50 million of speculative industrial development.

Across 2014, the group completed transactions totalling £413 million, with key acquisitions including the purchase of Rom Valley Retail Park for £22 million, and the Hadden Hill Retail Park in Didcot for £11 million. 

Disposals included the £44 million sale of the London Square office scheme in Guildford, the Constellation Portfolio of 11 properties totalling over 700,000 sq ft for £44.5 million, and the 302,000 sq ft DC2 unit on the South Martson Business Park in Swindon for £22m.

Overseas, IM Properties is continuing to expand its business in the United States which had been primarily focussed on development in and around Chicago. 2014 saw work commence in Wisconsin on a new $200 million (£130 million) mixed use lifestyle centre - incorporating over 700,000 sq ft of retail and high quality residential apartments.

IM’s Finance Director Adrian Clarke, said: “These results demonstrate the success of the strategy that we initiated in 2012, which enabled us to focus on the development of our asset pipeline across 2014.

“We are operating to a core strategy that will ultimately provide us with greater liquidity and increased resilience of capital values, supported by the ongoing diversification of our business where the stable base and cash generation from our investment portfolio allows the commercial development team to focus on medium and long-term projects which will ultimately provide higher returns.”

An award-winning developer, IM Properties’ portfolio includes North Warwickshire’s Birch Coppice Business Park, one of the region’s biggest employment success stories of recent years, as well as premier Birmingham industrial and development site, The Hub.

Amongst its commercial holdings, the group owns the prestigious 55 Colmore Row in Birmingham city centre, which is currently undergoing an extensive redevelopment and the Blythe Valley Business Park near Solihull.