May 2016 news archive

IM Properties submits planning application for Birmingham Road retail site

IM Properties is looking to invest circa. £4 million into Bromsgrove Town Centre, if its planning application to develop the retail park on Birmingham Road is successful. 

The company has submitted a proposal to Bromsgrove District Council, demonstrating its intentions to significantly enhance the current scheme, and create a new high quality shopping destination.

The existing 30,000 sq ft of retail space, will be divided into a number of smaller, more flexible units designed to attract well-known, quality retailers into the town.

IM Properties, which is one of the UK’s largest privately owned properties companies based in Coleshill, has a significant proportion of its £900 million portfolio invested in the Midlands region.  Amongst its most notable schemes are Mell Square Shopping Centre in Solihull Town Centre, Blythe Valley Business Park off junction 4 of the M42 and 55 Colmore Row in Birmingham - one of the largest mixed-use schemes currently being developed in the city.

Richard Sykes, planning and development manager at IM Properties, said:

“The Birmingham Road site is in an excellent location and with the significant enhancements and investment we are proposing to make to the overall retail environment we believe we can create a retail landmark that the town currently lacks.

“We feel the size of the units that we are proposing, which incorporate mezzanine floorspace and landscaping of the surrounding area, would attract the right mix and quality of tenants providing a significantly improved retail offering and a real economic boost to Bromsgrove.”

IM PROPERTIES BEEFS UP FOOD OFFERING IN CBD with restaurant letting at 55 Colmore Row

IM Properties is feeling bullish about its new restaurant signing at 55 Colmore Row, having attracted renowned London operator, Gaucho, to one of two available units.

Bringing a taste of Argentina to the city, Gaucho currently has 12 restaurants in London plus a restaurant in Leeds, and one in Manchester, and has selected Birmingham as its next UK destination for regional expansion.

Birmingham was chosen for its growth potential and rising profile as a food haven.

Zeev Godik from Gaucho explains:

“We’ve been looking at Birmingham for some time but finding the right location was crucial. It had to look and feel right for the brand. All our restaurants are individual and we needed a space that enabled us to tell the story of Gaucho to the full and create a memorable experience for customers in the city.”

Some 15,000 sq ft of restaurant space is being developed on 55 Colmore Row’s lower ground floor as part of a £30 million redevelopment. When complete the building will provide the largest and most prominent level of high quality Grade A office accommodation in the city. Pinsent Masons has already signed up to 40,000 of the available 160,000 sq ft.

Gaucho will sit on the corner of Church Street and Colmore Row, with a dedicated entrance on Church Street opposite the proposed new entrance of the Grand Hotel.

John Hammond, investment director at IM Properties said: “For us 55 Colmore Row is a real place changer and everything about the building has to be aspirational. Our ambition was to attract a top tier restaurant and when Gaucho approached us, we knew they ticked all our boxes for style, quality and vibrancy, paying the same attention to designing their restaurants as we have to creating one of the most prestigious business addresses in the area.

“Recent lettings at the Grand Hotel to Gusto and Alchemist are part of a push forward to make the CBD a high quality business and leisure location. We believe Gaucho significantly adds to the offering and will provide a real talking point in the city, becoming a place to go and be seen.”

Specialist retail and leisure agents, BWD have been appointed by IM Properties to find suitable operators to take the restaurant space. They are currently in discussions with a number of interested parties for the second unit.

Once completed in autumn of this year, 55 Colmore Row will unveil its Grade II listed Victorian terraced facade, beautifully restored to reveal a 19th century masterpiece, offering panoramic views across the grounds of the adjacent St Philip’s Cathedral and the wider city core.

Insight Retail Consulting are retained advisors to the Gaucho group assisting in their expansion activities.

IMP appoints new project director to support acquisition plans

Midlands-based IM Properties (IMP) has appointed a new project director to help take forward a growing number of warehousing and distribution sites.

Andy Reynolds joins from from independent property and construction practice, Rider Levett Bucknall, where he was a Partner.

Having worked at the practice since the late 1980s, part of Mr Reynolds’ role was acting as a consultant to IMP and he has gained significant experience working on some of the company’s biggest Midlands based projects including Birch Coppice, Solihull Business Park and The Hub. 

Jason Jasper, UK project director at IMP, says that Mr Reynolds’ considerable experience in warehousing and distribution shed delivery was extremely appealing and will make him a valuable asset to the company as it moves forward.

“Andy has almost 30 years experience working on major warehousing and distribution sites - a significant focus of our future growth plans. With a number of new schemes currently under offer we needed to ensure that we have a dedicated in-house project director in place to oversee these developments.

“Not only does Andy have extensive knowledge of this type of development but, having acted as a consultant to IMP for many years, he also has extensive knowledge of our company and the way we work. This is invaluable and we’re delighted to have him on board.”

Andy says that the chance to work in-house doesn’t arise very often in the industry and so when the chance arose, it was too good an offer to turn down.

“Having been at my previous company since graduating University, it was going to take something pretty special to entice me away.

“I’ve worked alongside IMP for a number of years and when this opportunity arose I knew that it was the right fit for me. The company’s ambition and investment plans are extremely exciting and its ethos has always been appealing and inspiring.

“It’s nice to be surrounded by familiar faces and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into some major projects in the coming weeks.”

IM Properties, based in Coleshill, is one of the largest privately owned property groups in the UK, with an investment and development portfolio of circa. £900 million across the UK, Europe and US.

IM Properties builds war chest via £200m deal with state pension fund

One of Britain’s largest privately-owned property firms is gearing up for growth, after selling a £200m industrial portfolio to Malaysia’s state pension scheme.

IM Properties (IMP) concluded the deal with the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), which was keen to acquire prime UK assets in the distribution and logistics sectors.

The portfolio includes 18 separate assets, on business parks and industrial locations stretching from Heathrow to Birmingham, totalling two million sq ft.

The £200m price-tag represents a significant chunk of IMP’s group-wide property holdings of £900m, but IMP believes now is the perfect time to further strengthen its buying power in the market.

Its managing director, Tim Wooldridge, says the catalyst for the decision to sell was the dramatic collapse in China’s stock market last August and slide in the commodities market.

“Most observers thought the tumble in share prices was just a blip, given its remarkable growth trajectory in recent years, we saw it as an indication of volatile times ahead,” he recalls.

“We have always been opportunistic in our approach to deal-making, so thought it the ideal time to test the market for our industrial portfolio ahead of economic headwinds manifesting themselves in pricing. If solid interest was there, and at a strong price for us, we could generate a significant cash pile for acquisitions and expansion during a more uncertain 2016.

“When economies start to slow, a lot of people just sit on their hands and wait to see what happens, but we pride ourselves on being fleet-of-foot, and thought there would be value opportunities for cash buyers.”

IMP’s UK investment director, John Hammond identified a short-list of likely institutional buyers in the UK and overseas last autumn, and tested their views about a potential sale, via IMP’s advisors CBRE.

Hammonds says: “We were delighted with the strength of the responses, and the calibre of the institutions involved, so we decided to proceed. We knew the EPF had its eye on industrial assets in Western Europe, because it had put 250m euros into Germany in July 2015 and had fully mandated CBRE Global Investors to source product in the UK.

“We also knew they had the resources and the desire to proceed with the deal, so negotiations would not become protracted as deliverability is always important. They and their agents were keen to acquire the portfolio, so we got the agreement into ‘legals’ in November, and exchanged contracts in February.”

Wooldridge states the continued uncertainty in the equity and commodity markets, since last August has underlined the wisdom of IMP’s decision to sell.

“Everything which has happened, here and overseas, confirms that we have taken the money off the table at just the right time,” he says.

“Some of the money will go into our existing development pipeline, some will be used to acquire income-generating assets, and after that it’s a question of identifying potential acquisitions which are available at prices which represent value.

“We’re open-minded, as always, about which sector we will invest it, and we could even go back into the industrial market. If we spot the right opportunity, and the value is there, the sector is almost irrelevant.

“We’d never try to call which way the markets will go, but are confident that opportunities will present themselves, and that the uncertainty means there will be fewer buyers in play. It’s too soon to say when we might buy, but I would expect the first deals to go through in the first half of 2016.

“Geography isn’t crucial, but because we are based close to Birmingham, most of our asset purchases tend to be in the South or the Midlands, and that approach is likely to continue.”