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IM Properties confirms sale of Blythe Valley Park

IM Properties (IMP) has sold its 1.2m sq ft Blythe Valley Park (BVP) scheme in Solihull to Frasers Logistic and Commercial Trust (FLCT) for an undisclosed sum.

Located at junction 4 of the M42, the mixed-use scheme has become home to some of the region’s leading businesses, including fast-growing global brands – Gymshark and Lounge, both taking in excess of 100,000 sq ft of space.

Gymshark’s executive chairman Paul Richardson was quoted as saying BVP was unlike any other business park they had seen.

The sense of community created by IM Properties and the integration with its 122 acres of surrounding parkland has been pivotal to its success.

IM Properties’ were swift to implement their Wellness at Work campaign and in doing so we’re one of the first UK landlords to roll out a fully inclusive employment park wellbeing agenda.

Day-to-day life at BVP involved occupier events, promotions and bulletins encouraging employees to get out, meet up, walk, run or use one of their shared pool bikes

A significant investment in amenities, new, modern, sustainable working environments and then the bold move to deliver a cutting-edge range of industrial units known as Connexion which achieved record rents – helped establish BVP further as the premier cross-sector business park in the Midlands.

Its direct connection to the M42 and wider motorway networks, Birmingham Airport, Birmingham International Train Station and the forthcoming HS2 Hub also added appeal to occupiers.

The sale of BVP is not the end of IM Properties’ investment however, they will retain the residential element of the site including the recently completed neighbourhood centre and build to rent scheme.

A 12-month handover period is also in place, during which time the IM team will continue to work alongside FLCT’s asset manager’s Frasers Property UK to help facilitate a smooth transition.

Tim Wooldridge managing director of IM Properties said the team felt they were definitely going out on a high with BVP, having all been on a very personal journey with the scheme, investing much time and thought to deliver the M42’s flagship scheme.

“Being located in Solihull, BVP has always been on our doorstep and a legacy project which we wanted to look back on in future years and think yes, we’re all proud of what we’ve achieved here.

“Since we bought BVP out of receivership in 2014, we can say with confidence that the park has out-performed all its peers. But we knew when we proactively enquired about it seven years ago that as opportunities go, it was a sleeping giant.”

Wooldridge added. “Our focus was always to invest in a best-in-class scheme, synonymous with employee wellbeing, in the belief that it would attract some of the region’s most forward-thinking occupiers and that’s exactly what we did.”

Circa. 4500 people are now employed at BVP across 26 commercial buildings, with 7.5 acres of commercial development land available.

Wooldridge continues: “The sale helps fund an exciting new chapter for IM Properties, as the focus changes to large scale logistics developments including Peddimore and Mercia Park, two of the region’s most significant new manufacturing and logistics schemes.

“It’s a change in direction yet with a lot of influences from BVP, embracing the same desire to create sustainable schemes with a soul, which also deliver social and economic benefits to the surrounding communities to attract high-quality employers to the region.”

Peddimore starts on-site in July heralding a new era in logistics schemes with a focus on amenity, green open space and employee and occupier wellbeing.

A £270,000 Peddimore Community Fund has already awarded over 20 grants to local grassroots organisations and extensive engagement with local stakeholders is underway to promote employment and skills.

Mercia Park will be home to a new 2.94 million sq ft global logistics centre for Jaguar Land Rover, one of the largest single occupier logistics deals in the UK. Here a community fund is also in place with IM Properties looking to fulfil its sustainability ambitions of achieving Net Zero in Construction.

Acre Capital Real Estate advised IMP while CBRE acted for FLCT.