The Aire Valley Land LLP, the joint venture between Harworth Group plc and Evans Property Group, has exchanged contracts for the sale of 43 acres of commercial development land at its Gateway 45 Leeds site to PLP in one of the largest commercial transactions in the UK in 2019.
The site will be acquired by PLP’s flagship investment vehicle, the PLP UK Logistics Venture (UKLV), which is owned by majority investor Ivanhoé Cambridge alongside Peel Group, MIRA Real Estate and PLP management. This acquisition complements other recent purchases by PLP at Sheffield, Crewe and Knowsley which will take the value of UKLV’s Assets Under Management (AUM) to c.£500 million on a completed basis.
PLP will now work with AVL LLP to begin earthworks and on and off-site infrastructure, alongside the submission of a reserved matters planning application to Leeds City Council for c. 850,000 sq. ft of industrial & distribution space across 4 units. Subject to planning, work will begin on constructing these new units in Summer 2020.
PLP’s deal follows AVL LLP selling an adjacent 10 acres of land in early April to the University of Leeds for the development of their Institute for High Speed Rail and System Integration (“Institute”). The institute will bring a ‘whole system’ approach to high speed rail planning, design, construction and manufacturing. It will be co-located with HS2’s eastern leg Phase 2b Rolling Stock Depot – a 61 acre facility that will enable 24-hour maintenance of the brand new high-speed trains, which will revolutionise rail travel and play a crucial role in rebalancing Britain’s economy.
The Gateway 45 site is adjacent to Junction 45 of the M1 that extends to 166 acres and has outline planning consent for 2.64 million sq ft of commercial space. Aire Valley Land LLP has spent the past four years preparing the site for development following its designation as an Enterprise Zone, including completing a £7.5 million infrastructure and ground works programme using a loan facility from the Leeds City Region LEP and Grant from DCLG.
Leeds City Council opened its 1,000 space Park & Ride bus interchange facility at the site in June 2017, providing commuters with a 15 minute bus link to Leeds City Centre. The Park and Ride will now be extended following the sale by The Aire Valley LLP of a further 4 acres to the City Council earlier this year.
Jeremy Greenland, CEO of PLP commented:
“We are very excited about this acquisition, which provides a clear opportunity for PLP to deliver high quality logistics space in a variety of configurations for occupiers. Beyond this and our other three recent acquisitions, we continue to look for prime logistics developments and assets in key markets.”
James Pitt, Development Director at Evans Property Group, commented:
“This is an excellent outcome for all concerned which will deliver a significant proportion of the jobs promised when the Enterprise Zone was initially created. AVL LLP’s focus now is to assist PLP to get on-site as quickly as possible so that thousands of new jobs can be delivered for the City Region to benefit from.”
Ian Ball, Chief Operating Officer at Harworth Group plc, added:
“This deal caps a superb first four months of 2019 for the Aire Valley Land Joint Venture with the agreed sale of 60 acres of employment land in three separate transactions to high-quality counterparties. PLP has an experienced team with a proven track record and I have no doubt that they will make a success of their development.”
Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Judith Blake said:
“This deal is very welcome as it brings significant new investment into Leeds and the Leeds City Region Enterprise Zone, enhancing economic growth, job creation and innovation in the area and the city. It is a further endorsement of the attractiveness of the enterprise zone, adding to the significant employment developments that have already taken place and the exciting pipeline of major schemes coming forward including the University of Leeds High Speed Rail Institute and the HS2 rolling stock depot, so we look forward to seeing the plans connected with this deal.”