Manchester-based Ask Real Estate has announced that it plans to target a £500m pipeline of commercial property developments across the North, following the sale of the majority of the business to construction giant Carillion for an undisclosed sum.
Carillion has bought out Ask founding shareholders Andy Dodd, Ken Knott, Simon Bate, and Simply Red singer Mick Hucknall. Ask was established in 2000.
Ask Real Estate managing director John Hughes and finance director Jonathan Cross will retain their executive roles and will be joined on the board of Ask by Simon Eastwood, managing director of Carillion’s developments business and Peter Forsyth, Carillion’s director of strategy and investment.
The investment builds on an existing joint venture between Ask, Carillion and Tristan Capital Partners that is delivering a two-phase development at Embankment in Manchester city centre.
The first phase comprises 101 Embankment, a 10-storey, 165,000 sq ft office alongside retail and leisure units and 442-space multi-storey car park pre-let to Q-Park due for completion in July 2016.
The joint venture will also submit a planning application in February 2016 for the second phase of the scheme, an adjacent identical office building entitled 100 Embankment.
The newly-constituted board of Ask will work with Carillion Developments to identify and deliver commercial property development opportunities with a projected portfolio value of £500m over the next five years in cities across the North West, Yorkshire and the North East.
In May 2015 Ask sold its 20-acre First Street development in Manchester to Patrizia UK, a subsidiary of Patrizia Immobilien AG, the German-listed European real estate investment company, while continuing to manage the development of the scheme.
John Hughes said: “The Carillion investment into Ask Real Estate is a game changer for the business, presenting us with an exciting opportunity to marry our reputation for delivering high quality developments and spaces in urban centres with the expertise and financial resource of Carillion.”