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September 2016 news archive

Taylor Wimpey relocating to IMP’s M42 business park

Taylor Wimpey is relocating its regional office from the centre of Solihull to IM Properties’ (IMP) Fore Business Park - underlining the attraction of the M42 Corridor.

The housebuilder has signed a 10-year lease on 10,484sq ft of Grade A space, taking the final floorplate at the Fore 2 building; located at Junction 4, M42 and just 10 minutes from Birmingham Airport.

The business park is at the heart of UK Central; four interconnected economic zones being promoted by Solihull Borough Council and the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP as a major international gateway and strategic location for domestic and overseas investment.

IMP’s asset manager, Rob Hemus said:

“It’s a great name to have on the park and a great deal to conclude. We’ve been talking with Taylor Wimpey for a number of months and knew they wanted quality office space in a business park environment. They were impressed by the sustainability of the building and excellent connectivity. We hope to build as successful a landlord and tenant relationship going forward as we have done during the negotiations.”

Coleshill-based IMP bought the 17-acre business park from developers BAM in July 2014.
The strategic focus will now turn to promoting ‘Design and Build’ space on ten acres of development land at the site, with the potential to bring forward 235,000 sq ft of Grade A office space.

Nick Williams from Savills who acts as joint agents with CBRE on the scheme added: “The letting is further evidence of not only the strength of offer at Fore but also the positive momentum surrounding offices located in the proximity of junction 4 M42. IM Properties ownership of adjoining land is well placed to take advantage of limited stock and continued demand and we look forward to building on this significant letting.”

New IMP Land Venture Backed by £1.34 billion portfolio

IM Properties (IMP) has launched a new strategic land division, backed by a £1.34 billion portfolio in response to the national acute housing shortage.

The new venture - IM Land - will identify, acquire and promote new residential sites to sell onto housebuilders and developers, headed by the group’s strategic land director, Jonathan Dyke, and supported by some of the housing industry’s leading professionals.

The team, headhunted over the past 12 months, comprises senior strategic planning manager, Sarah Milward from Taylor Wimpey and three former members of Barratts’ land team; senior strategic land manager Marianne Horton, senior technical manager Richard Knight and strategic planning specialist Richard Pitt.

The emphasis on ex-housebuilders is deliberate, as IM Land looks to set itself apart from rivals. Its focus is on delivery and maximising assets and the team is renowned for their ability to unlock technically challenging sites, some of which would be deemed too complex by other housebuilders or promoters.

Jonathan Dyke believes land-owners and potential joint venture partners looking to realise value from their assets will all find the IM Land model appealing.

“The housing market has thrived in recent years but there’s still too much risk and too little certainty in the planning system. We’ve assembled a very strong team from the housebuilding industry, which understands every stage of the residential planning and delivery system, so we can help our partners through what can be a daunting process,” he says.

“I believe what sets IM Land apart is that we combine the financial resources of an institution, with the creativity and specific skill-set of a property business, and when you ally that combination to a 30-year track record of successful development, it’s a powerful offer.

“We never wish to be prescriptive about the way we operate. We spent months testing our model in the market before today’s launch, and it became clear that it worked in three different ways”.

“Some people wished to dispose of assets on a freehold basis, others needed financial backing for a joint venture, some wanted to be guided through the planning system - and all those work for us. We are very happy to be a purchaser, a partner or a promoter.

“Above all, whilst we always think of the long-term, and believe only sustainable models can work in the housing market, we recognise that our partners need to make a return on their investments, just as we do, so we’re always looking for innovative ways to deliver maximum value for them too.”

Midlands based, IMP, which has traded successfully across the industrial, office, residential and retail sectors for almost 30 years, itself has an asset portfolio of nearly £1 billion (not including IM Land) and for the first time in 2015, recorded profits exceeding £100 million (£103.1m).

Tim Wooldridge, IMP’s managing director said: “The housing market isn’t delivering as efficiently as it should, for several reasons; first-time buyers facechallenges accessing finance, many land-owners don’t see the certainty they require to enter the sector, and house-builders lack the confidence to deliver major schemes.

“We see an opportunity to offer a new approach, so we have been quietly building a portfolio of development sites across the Midlands. As of the end of July, we have invested enough to secure sufficient land to deliver roughly 6,000 homes.

“Being privately owned we don’t have pressures from external-investors or shareholders and we can react to the market. We pride ourselves on being flexible and agile as an organisation and always able to think for the long term.

“We’re also cash-rich. In April we sold a £200m industrial portfolio to provide extra financial firepower if major strategic opportunities presented themselves, as we are confident they will. Initially, IM Land will focus on residential projects, and compliment IM Properties development teams exisiting strategiccommercial ventures.”

Some of IM Land’s current sites are located in Bath, Solihull, Bromsgrove, Lichfield, Warwick and Stratford-Upon-Avon and they are actively seeking new residential or mixed-use opportunities.