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Unilever’s Bedford HQ sells for over £60m

Image for Unilever’s Bedford HQ sells for over £60m

Wrenbridge and Palmer Capital have completed the sale of Colworth Science Park, a leading research and development facility for over £60m. The price for the 319,789 sq ft, 12-building campus located near Bedford reflects a yield of c.6%. The Science Park, which is home to one of Unilever’s six global R&D facilities was acquired by the group in June 2014 on behalf of Palmer Capital Development Fund III (PCDF III). Unilever’s commitment to the Park and Bedford remains unchanged and it retains its lease until 2034. Wrenbridge implemented an intensive asset management programme working with tenants on the 90-acre site to transform operations, reduce costs and create opportunities that has secured its future as an innovative centre for scientific excellence and collaboration.

Ewen McLeod, Director at Wrenbridge in Cambridge, said: “Since purchasing the park in 2014, we have re-geared the core leases with Unilever and restructured the park wide FM services crystallising extensive savings. We have also refurbished and let the vacant space including the Grade II* Listed Colworth House, created 200 jobs and delivered a 15,000 sq ft pre-let to Firmenich, a leading global flavours business.”

The Park is strategically located in the heart of the UK Growth Arc, a knowledge corridor running from Oxford to Cambridge, that will see this area transformed over the coming years. Its position will enable tenants to compete on the global stage, share knowledge and innovate in collaboration with others along the corridor. Tenants at the Park include companies from the professional services, planning and biotech industries.

Chris Button, Fund Manager, Palmer Capital commented “This project has delivered excellent returns for our investors and showcases our ability to combine institutional capital with best in class asset management through our property company network. We have just launched our latest £250m value add fund and are actively seeking new opportunities in the £3m-£50m size range.

CBRE acted as investment advisors and Osborne Clarke acted as the legal advisors.