The 21 major North West commercial property deals that shouldn’t be missed

These are 21 of the most significant commercial property deals to have taken place across the North West in recent weeks.

It would appear the commercial property market is continuing its recovery from the pandemic, with various deals involving huge warehouses, city centre sites and even a hotel in the Lake District.

Kinrise, Cromwell Property Group, Park Cakes and Urban Splash are among the firms who have wasted no time in announcing big deals since our last roundup.

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It comes after a new report revealed that Grade A office space in Liverpool is at “historically low levels” while Manchester’s market is continuing to improve. You can read more from Avison Young’s Big Nine report here.

Here, BusinessLive rounds up 21 of those deals we feel you shouldn’t have missed:

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Kinrise’s Martins Bank building in Liverpool

The historic former Martins Bank HQ in Liverpool city centre has been acquired by a hybrid workspace provider.

Kinrise said the 210,000sq ft building on Water Street will now undergo a “significant yet sensitive” refurbishment project – retaining its original features while “showcasing its character”.

It’s Kinrise’s first property in the city – and the firm said it now wants to showcase the building’s character while accommodating state-of-the-art technological upgrades to create modern, flexible workspaces for both large and small companies.

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AND Digital

Bruntwood Works' Bloc in Marble Street, Manchester

Bruntwood Works’ Bloc in Marble Street, Manchester

A tech consultancy has launched a new Manchester office, named after the first woman of colour to travel in space, and the creation of more than 60 jobs.

AND Digital, which has worked with the likes of British Airways, TalkTalk and Premier Inn, has opened ‘Club Jemison’ in honour of US astronaut Mae Jemison.

The latest ‘club’ will aim to build on the success of the company’s first Manchester-based location, Club Kilburn, which launched earlier this year and now counts Co-op, the Very Group and The Prince’s Trust among its clients.

The new base is located in Bloc, 17 Marble Street, Manchester.

Mae Jemison is an US engineer, physician, and former NASA astronaut. She became the first black woman to travel into space when she served as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1992.

White Oak

The new Chester HQ of lender White Oak

An independent business lender has announced it is moving its HQ to Chester, and now plans to create 40 new jobs.

White Oak is to open a 15,000sq ft office in the city centre to accommodate its continued growth both in the region and across the UK.

The firm, which moved its base from Ewloe in North Wales, said the 10-year lease reaffirms its commitment to the North West as its home.

Altius Group

The new Altius office in Preston

A specialist broker group has acquired a large purpose-built head office and now plans to create over 40 jobs.

Altius Group, a collection of business brokers, has marked a “considerable milestone” after acquiring Eaves Brook House in Preston Docklands, close to the city centre.

It said the acquisition provides a platform for the company to deliver its strategic growth plans which will increase its staff from 60 to more than 100.

Miller Howe Hotel

Miller Howe Hotel, Windermere

Miller Howe Hotel, Windermere

A Lake District hotel launched and made famous by one of the original celebrity chefs has been sold to a local businessman.

Miller Howe Hotel in Windermere, has been snapped up for an undisclosed sum, off a guide price of £2.85m.

The hotel in Rayrigg Road overlooks Lake Windermere and has 15 en-suite bedrooms, a restaurant, residents’ bar and conservatory, parking for 30 cars and Miller Howe Cottage; a detached former cottage converted into additional letting accommodation.

It was launched by John Tovey in 1971 with an investment of £53,000. The property was later sold to Charles Garside, former editor of The European newspaper and now assistant editor at The Daily Mail, who managed the business with his brother and sister-in-law.


Morecambe’s Frontierland site has been closed since 1999

Morecambe’s Frontierland site has been closed since 1999

The site of a former theme park which first opened in 1909 but has been derelict for more than two decades has been sold with the aim of kick starting its regeneration.

Lancaster City Council has purchased Morecambe’s Frontierland site for an undisclosed sum.

The land was previously home to the theme park which closed in 1999 and has since been the subject a number of failed re-development attempts by the private sector.

The Western-style theme park on Marine Road West closed and later purchased by Morrisons, which operates a supermarket store adjacent to the land.

Most recently, a retail-led scheme with a restaurant, pub, and hotel was proposed and approved by the city council.

However, planning permission has since expired, leaving the “real possibility that the site would again be left to languish”, the council said.

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British Red Cross

Artis Park in Winsford

Artis Park in Winsford

Joint venture partners Maple Grove Developments and Kier Property Developments have signed up the British Red Cross to the first phase of Artis Park in Winsford.

The international charity has taken units 11 and 12 measuring 26,770 sq ft on a 10-year lease.

The new accommodation is an expansion and consolidation of its current e-commerce stock generation and processing facilities on Winsford Industrial Estate, where the British Red Cross had two units for many years, into one major warehouse on Artis Park.

This latest deal means that 65% of phase one, comprising 10 units offering 68,000 sq ft is now occupied to tenants including Screwfix, Toolstation and Ross Care.

HP Construction is well underway on the second phase which was part-funded by a £5m loan from the Cheshire & Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership.

Once completed at the end of this year, this phase will offer 53,000 sq ft of employment space across three units ranging in size from 10,560 sq ft to 26,620 sq ft.


Cluttons’ new northern hub will be led by partner Charlie Ardern

An international property consultancy business has launched its northern hub in Manchester.

Cluttons said it has bucked the trend in lockdown by launching an office with a team of experts in the city – on King Street.

It will be led by partner Charlie Ardern, who joined the firm from Avison Young following 13 years at Knight Frank.

Office Tech Holdings

Tameside businessman Jason Dixon owner of Docutech has bought the old Roland Bardsley building in Dukinfield

A Tameside entrepreneur is to invest £2m in revamping a nearby out-of-town workspace, with the move set to create around 20 jobs.

Jason Dixon, group CEO of Office Tech Holdings, said a variety of roles will be needed at Globe House on Globe Lane in Dukinfield – the former Bardsley Building to meet the needs of the 700 people who work there.

Mr Dixon said he is “thoroughly committed to building a stylish, modern-day environment for a flexible working community”.


Portwood Court in Stockport

Portwood Court in Stockport

Investment and development company Glenbrook has announced the investment sale of the final unit on Portwood Court in Stockport to DK Commercial for £545,000.

Located at the Portwood Roundabout, the 4,919 sq ft building is one of three buildings forming Portwood Court, which offers 18,527 sq ft of retail accommodation.

Other occupiers include the German Kebab shop, Connection Flooring and Pizza Hut.

Chris Lloyd, investment director at Glenbrook, said: “After only acquiring the whole of Portwood Court in December 2019, we have now completed the final sale and concluded our business plan.

“We have sold the units to investors and owner occupiers showing there is still strong interest in the retail sector for good locations.”

Bell Lamb & Joynson Solicitors

Bell Lamb & Joynson Solicitors’ new office at Millbank House in Runcorn

A Liverpool City Region law firm has reported a record 12 months for the firm and announced a big office move – as it marks its 200th anniversary.

Following the start of its financial year in July, Bell Lamb & Joynson Solicitors said it has experienced surges in case volume and turnover, up by 56% and 24% respectively since 2019/2020.

The firm has also increased its staffing by 33% to 56 team members across all of its legal departments covering residential conveyancing, family law, criminal law, commercial litigation and wills and probate.

Train Urban

Gym operator Train Urban is to open in Manchester's Northern Quarter

Gym operator Train Urban is to open in Manchester’s Northern Quarter

Gym operator Train Urban is set to launch its first Manchester operation in the basement of Hilton House, on Hilton Street, in the city’s Northern Quarter.

Hilton House has been completely redeveloped and remodelled following the acquisition by CERT Property last year.

Train Urban has leased the entire basement, comprising a floor area of some 4,100 sq. ft.

Andrew Ball, Train Urban Co-owner and personal trainer, said: “We have been looking for the ideal location within Manchester for some time and considered a number of options, however, our wider vision, combined with practical needs, recognised Hilton House as the perfect fit.”

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Cromwell Property Group

Cromwell Property Group has completed the acquisition of the 105,098sq ft asset situated on Kingsland Grange Industrial Estate in Warrington

An Australian real estate firm has bought a huge North West logistics hub for £10m in its first UK acquisition.

Cromwell Property Group has completed the acquisition of the 105,098sq ft asset situated on Kingsland Grange Industrial Estate in Warrington.

The firm said the move for the fully-let freehold building, completed on behalf of Cromwell European Real Estate Investment Trust (CEREIT), will accelerate its pivot to logistics – and increase its exposure to warehousing and logistics assets.

Sovini Group

The former Johnsons Cleaners site in Bootle, Merseyside

A multimillion-pound deal has been agreed for the sale of the former European HQ of Johnsons The Cleaners in Merseyside.

The building and the huge, five-acre site on Stanley Road, Bootle, has been acquired by Sefton-based Sovini Group and will now be turned into a residential development consisting of over 100 homes.

Sovini bought the site from Liverpool-based Ascot Group, which was established in the city in 1988 and is headed up by local businessman Terry Riley.

Park Cakes

The huge warehouse in Heywood has been leased by Park Cakes

An historic cake maker has leased a huge Greater Manchester warehouse after its previous tenant fell into administration.

Joint agents Gerald Eve and BC Real Estate have announced a 84,679 sq ft letting to Park Cakes in Heywood.

The Oldham-headquartered cake manufacturer, which has been in operation for over 80 years and employs 2,000 people across Greater Manchester, has taken the detached warehouse on a 10-year lease.

Urban Splash

Urban Splash

Urban Splash

Regeneration company Urban Splash has completed deals 40,000 sq ft of sales and lettings in its commercial portfolio during the second quarter of the year – a total of 80,000 sq ft of deals since the turn of the year.

The commercial team has welcomed businesses into Urban Splash neighbourhoods and buildings including at Beehive Mill in Manchester. 5,000 sq ft has been let at the refurbished space which stands adjacent to the company’s New Islington neighbourhood, with new occupiers including Define Architecture, Pure Care Homes and Acre Lane Capital.

Another major deal in Manchester saw the entire City Court Trading Estate sold (26,945 sq ft) while in Merseyside, 8,000 sq ft of deals were completed at the Matchworks in South Liverpool to a range of businesses including Rehab 4 Performance.

In the company’s south west portfolio, further deals were completed at the waterfront Royal William Yard neighbourhood in Plymouth.

Cazenove Capital

Wealth management business Cazenove Capital, which is part of the Schroders Group, has opened a new office at 2 St Peter’s Square, Manchester.

The North West team is led by Simon Pearson, previously Head of the North West for UBS who has 30 years’ industry experience.

He has since been joined by six professionals in Manchester, complementing Cazenove Capital’s existing presence in Chester.

The team will service clients across the North West, including in Manchester, Chester and Liverpool and have over 100 years of combined experience of working with high and ultra high net worth clients in the region.

The Insights Family

The Insights Family's team outside its King Street office in Manchester city centre

The Insights Family’s team outside its King Street office in Manchester city centre

The Insights Family, a kids, parents, and family market intelligence company, has moved to a larger office on King Street in Manchester city centre and opened a satellite office in Mayfair, London.

The company also welcomes three new starters to the business and announces the launch of Kids Insights and Parents Insights in Poland.

The company is rapidly expanding following a number of exciting clients wins, including media giant HBO Max, iconic retailer HMV, and media agency GroupM.

Nick Richardson, CEO and founder, said: “The first half of 2021 has seen the business and every member of the team make incredible progress.

“We have seen a significant increase in client demand for our products and services as more and more organisations realise that traditional market research and data is no longer fit for purpose.

“Our new offices will enable us to provide an environment in which our team will further prosper, and coincides with the launch of a number of new initiatives as we look to be global leaders in every sense of the word.”

The PHA Group

The PHA Group team

The PHA Group team

PR agency The PHA Group has launched its Manchester office.

The launch is the first major growth initiative delivered by joint MDs Shelley Frosdick and Stuart Skinner since taking over the day to day running of the business in 2020.

The new Manchester office “will drive organic growth by taking a stake in the exciting northern economy and allow the agency to explore the rich northern talent pool”, while offering existing PHA talent a second UK base to work from.

The Manchester office is in Bloc on Marble Street in the Spring Gardens area of the city.

The office has launched with a roster of clients including Bonnet Electric, Hometree, Elevate and Open ECX.

Rutherford Developments

Cobra Court in Trafford Park

Cobra Court in Trafford Park

Acting on behalf of Sentium Ltd, Canning O’Neill has completed the freehold sale of an office building on Cobra Court in Trafford Park to Rutherford Developments in a deal worth £750,000.

Located at 1 Adbaston Road, Sentium had owned the 4,207 sq ft two-storey building since it was constructed in 2006, having bought it from the developer.

The building forms part of the popular Cobra Court development, located on Barton Dock Road, close to the Trafford Centre and giving immediate access to the M60 at Junction 9.

Liam Ferguson at Rutherford said: “The building was purchased to be the northern presence for Kindred Consulting, a London based Strategy Consulting firm.

“It will also provide excellent offices and client training facilities for the newly launched Manufacturers Network, which provides high level manufacturing consulting and training.

“We were very attracted by the location, parking facilities and pristine condition of the facilities.”

Warehouse REIT

Warehouse REIT, the AIM-listed specialist investor, has made four acquisitions recently including increasing its holdings at Midpoint-18, Cheshire.

Contracts have also been exchanged to acquire a further 16 acres of land immediately adjoining the existing Radway Green multi-let estate located at junction 16, M6, outside Crewe.

Andrew Bird, managing director of Tilstone Partners, the investment advisor of Warehouse REIT, said: “We continue to witness strong occupier demand across the portfolio from a range of both e-commerce related businesses as well as more traditional national operators and SMEs, allowing us to capture the significant reversionary potential as we continue to experience strong rental collection, in line with previous quarters.”

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