St Helens Glass Futures
The council unanimously approved the plans for Glass Futures earlier this year. Credit: via planning documents

Investor steps in to back St Helens’ Glass Futures 

Dan Whelan

Standard Life Investments Property Income Trust, part of Abrdn, has paid £15m to forward fund the construction of the facility, to be used as a research and development centre focussing on improving the environmental impact of glass manufacturing. 

The asset is pre-let to St Helens Council for 15 years, generating a net initial yield of 4.25%. The council will sublet the facility to Glass Futures once complete.

“The St Helens funding offers SLIPIT 15-year, index-linked, government income from an asset with strong ESG credentials and providing a good risk-adjusted income return,” said Mark Blyth, deputy fund manager of SLIPIT. 

Glass Futures will be developed by Network Space and constructed by Bowmer + Kirkland. The Peasley Cross facility has an estimated GDV of £54m. 

The scheme includes plans for an experimental furnace that can melt 30 tonnes of glass per day. That furnace could be used in research and development projects devoted to decarbonising glass production. 

In addition to SLIPIT’s investment, which covers the fabric of the building, funds for Glass Futures’ internal fit-out are coming from a mix of sources, including a £15m UK Research & Innovation grant. 

A collection of glass sector companies is providing £20m, while Liverpool City Region’s Build Back Better fund is supplying a £9m grant for the scheme. 

Aew is project architect for the project, while Tyler Grange is in charge of landscape plans.  Spawforths is the planning consultant. Walker Sime is project manager and QS. Hoare Lee is the sustainability advisor and Rachel Hacking is advising on ecology.  

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