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Bridges Property Alternatives Fund Announces Three Transactions

£30m invested into three transactions in three months since first close

Bridges Ventures has today announced the purchase of the first three investments by the Bridges Property Alternatives Fund (the “Fund”) which completed a first closing in April 2014 with over £120m of equity commitments from both existing and new institutional and private investors.

Totalling circa £30m of investment, these off-market transactions are focussed on emerging locations in London and in the CBD of Leeds and represent compelling investment opportunities with a strong emphasis on occupational demand, value situations and environmental sustainability.

The first two investments are in partnership with residential development specialist HUB, which shares Bridges’ ethos, aiming to make a positive contribution socially, environmentally and economically in everything they do.

Bridges Ventures specialises in using sustainability and wider social impact as a lens to identify opportunities where potential for an investment to drive social improvements as well as financial value. In the property sector, these include meeting demand for specialist properties, unlocking the potential of emerging locations, or improving the energy footprints of buildings to increase their attraction to occupiers and to future-proof value for investors.

  • In Wembley, the partnership has acquired Chesterfield House for a price of circa £11m from fixed charge receivers John Barber and Tim Perkin of CBRE. The property occupies a highly prominent island site close to both the town centre and Wembley stadium. Plans include a full redevelopment of the site to provide ground floor retail units along with 250 new homes above, comprising both private and affordable housing.
  • In Hayes, the partnership has exchanged contracts to acquire part of the Old Vinyl Factory for £9m. The asset forms part of an important 18 acre regeneration site, located within 400 metres of Hayes and Harlington station which will become the primary spur for the Crossrail route linking central London to nearby Heathrow airport. The site acquired by the Fund already has planning consent for over 200 new homes with associated infrastructure and car parking and will provide high quality accommodation at affordable prices for London’s growing population.
  • Finally, the Fund has completed a further transaction in Leeds with Evenacre. The Fund is investing £10m into the purchase and refurbishment of Barclays House located in a prime position in the city at East Parade. The 45,000 sq. ft. building has been acquired with vacant possession at a price substantially below replacement cost. The property lends itself to redevelopment and extension to provide environmentally efficient space for a growing number of business occupiers seeking high quality office space within the city. Evanacre is an existing joint venture partner with whom Bridges has undertaken previous successful transactions on behalf of its Sustainable Property Fund.

Simon Ringer, Partner and Head of Property Funds at Bridges Ventures, commented: “These transactions typify our investment strategy, where we seek to acquire properties at low entry prices in market sectors and locations where either demographic factors are driving growth – such as the needs-driven demand for affordably priced housing in London, or where markets are at inflection point – such as the Leeds office market where the rate of take up of accommodation has reduced supply of Grade A space to almost zero.

“In common with many of the successful transactions undertaken on behalf of our other property funds, transactions have been sourced off market and are being implemented with joint venture partners with whom we have close working relationships and who have strong track records in niche areas. In addition to the potential for generating attractive financial returns, each project offers significant scope to provide societal benefits associated with provision of much needed lower cost housing in the capital and, in the case of Leeds, to improve the environmental footprint of business space within the city.”

Steve Sanham, Development Director at HUB, commented: “HUB is committed to developing homes that people really want to live in. By promoting people and place in our schemes, we aim to complement existing communities by creating vibrant and successful new developments in the areas we work in.

“Our partnership with Bridges Ventures, and the shared values promoted by both organisations, have led to the successful acquisition of these two sites and will see us developing nearly 500 homes to meet the established need for well designed, affordably priced, homes in London.”