Landmark Site Acquisitions 2020 Aerial View
The acquisition includes the freehold of 3m sq ft of property across the Bolton area

Landmark raises £71m, acquires Bolton sites in push for growth

Sarah Townsend

The investor has sealed a ground rent deal under which it will acquire the freehold of more than 1,800 residential and commercial properties across Bolton and increase the value of its portfolio by 50% to £100m.

Landmark Investments Group acquired the properties, which span 418 sites, from an anonymous single landowner for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition includes 3m sq ft of industrial estates, mills, medical centres, retail parks and car parking across hundreds of acres in Bolton. Among the assets are Pavilion Square Retail Park in Westhoughton, and various properties on Lever Street.

Under the deal, Landmark acquires the freehold of the properties and so will receive ground rent payments from the leaseholders, which typically include apartment owners and commercial building owners.

The deal pushes Bolton-based Landmark’s ground rent portfolio to above £100m, and the company said it is on target to increase this to £150m by the end of the year, taking into account other, planned investments.

Now in its 20th anniversary year, Landmark is embarking on a strategy of growth and expansion over the next 12 months, which it intends to fuel with a record £71.1m of debt raised to date in 2020, from a mix of high street and institutional lenders.

The investor will use the debt to increase its portfolio of residential and commercial ground rents and take on larger and more complex opportunities. The company has already seen the value of its portfolio increase eightfold over the past five years.

Of the debt funding arranged this year, £45m has been secured on 50-year terms. A total of £25m has been provided by Spanish bank Santander.

Landmark chief executive Mark Hawthorn said: “To secure more than £55m since the start of lockdown and £71.1m this year demonstrates lenders’ belief in our business and is a huge testament to the performance of our team during this most challenging of times.

“We started investing in ground rents in 2004 before most knew what they were and continued to invest when the market paused in 2008 during the global credit crunch.

“This experience has stood us in good stead and meant it was perfectly normal for us to continue performing for vendors throughout lockdown.”

He added: “Our appetite for growth is voracious, and we continue to agree attractive investments on an almost daily basis.”

Landmark was advised on the Bolton acquisitions by law firm TLT. “The diligence and commitment from both sides allowed this deal to be completed smoothly, despite current market circumstances and very short timescales,” said TLT’s commercial real estate partner Patrick Sheehan.

Landmark Investments is part of Landmark Group, which was established in 2000 and also includes LDS, a development finance operator for SMEs.

Mark Hawthorn Landmark 2020

Hawthorn: ‘Our appetite for growth is voracious’

 

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how much is this going to increase ground rents for everyone thats had the freehold change hands?

By Peter kay

In response to Peter Kay…

Ground rent increase mechanisms would always be clearly detailed in a lease. The incoming owner cannot simply increase unless the lease says

By Paddy McGuinness