Bruntwood beats credit crunch with Liverpool office deal

Office developer and investor Bruntwood has added a ninth asset to its Liverpool portfolio with the off-market purchase of Number 1 Dale Street from Petros for an undisclosed sum.

The sale of the Grade II-listed 50,000 sq ft building in the commercial district of the city centre follows the acquisition earlier this year of Cotton Exchange and Cotton House on Old Hall Street for a reputed £20m.

Law firm Brabners Chaffe Street recently relocated from No1 Dale Street to UK Land & Property and Pochin's Horton House next door. Office staff from Royal Bank of Scotland will soon move to take up 23,000 sq ft at Bruntwood's The Plaza on Old Hall Street.

Bruntwood will spend £2m refurbishing the upper floors of No1 Dale Street, bringing 31,000 sq ft of lettable space to market in a year's time. The 11,000 sq ft RBS banking hall, on a long lease on the ground floor, will be untouched. Other tenants on the upper floors will also be unaffected.

Bruntwood was able to avoid the difficulties felt by others arranging debt facilities brought on by the transatlantic credit crunch, having agreed a £440m commercial mortgage-backed securitisation against 48 properties at the start of the year. The company now has 870,000 sq ft of offices in Liverpool and Merseyside.

Colin Forshaw, head of sales at Bruntwood in Liverpool, said: "We believe that the buildings in Liverpool's traditional business core, have a long term and sustainable business future. We continue to be surprised at how many owners are focused on large deals and long leases, when flexibility and certainty are key components in meeting the needs of the innovative risk taking businesses in the SME sector.

"The traditional core of the city is being questioned, as the commercial district rightly attracts high quality business. But we feel with developments such as 1 Dale Street, Liverpool's traditional commercial quarter will continue to cater for SMEs, by giving them a varied choice of location across the city."

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