Royal London buys Cambridge Research Park for €89m

Royal London Asset Management, acting for The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society, has acquired Cambridge Research Park off-market from Rockspring Property Investment Managers for £78 mln (€89 mln). 

The asset, which was held in Rockspring's UK Value 2 fund, was originially acquired in 2014 for £21 mln. Rockspring bought the 112-acre (45 ha) site in partnership with asset manager XLB Property with 80,000 ft2 (7,430 m2) of existing net lettable space.

Since then, Rockspring and XLB have developed an additional 80,000 ft2 of office/laboratory/mid tech space across three buildings, together with 76,000 ft2 of industrial space across a nine unit scheme called Enterprise 5000, which completed in May 2018. Two of the industrial units are already under offer.

'This has been a tremendously exciting project for us and a huge amount of work has gone into ensuring that this site successfully delivers on its significant potential,' said Kim Sardar, director at Rockspring.

'Having received an approach from Royal London, with the majority of the construction completed and a tangible improvement in the Park’s income profile having been achieved, we believe that now is the right time to crystallise the value we have created on behalf of our investors, and to hand over to an institutional buyer to take it forward over the longer term.'

According to Rockspring, the asset management undertaken has delivered a circa 45% uplift in the park’s rents. 13.5 acres of consented development land is included in the transaction.

The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Limited is managed by Royal London Asset Management (RLAM) and has a NAV of approximately £3.50 bn. RLAM currently has in excess of £100 bn under management across all asset classes, of which approximately £6.5 bn is invested in UK property.

UK Value 2 is the second fund in Rockspring’s UK-only closed-ended real estate strategy with a core plus risk profile. The fund, which held a final close in February 2015, secured a total of £342 mln of equity from 11 investors and will have a duration of circa seven years.

Bidwells acted for Rockspring and XLB Property, while Royal London was represented by Savills.


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