No change at Birchwood Park after sale, says Walsh

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Jonathan Walsh, managing director of Birchwood Park, said that it was business as usual at the mixed-use business park in Warrington, after the sale of the site was confirmed on Friday.

The sale of the 1.2m sq ft Birchwood Park to the joint venture between Oaktree Capital Management and Patrizia Immobilien was completed as part of a £430m deal to purchase three mixed-use parks from MEPC.

The former site was put up for sale in May 2014 along with the two other MEPC sites – Hillington Park in Glasgow and Chineham Park in Basingstoke.

MEPC is owned by Hermes Real Estate.

Walsh told Place North West: "There will be no change in management and no change in the agents on the site. It's business as usual, and a case of not needing to fix something when it's not broken. We want to increase the prospect of development, and are actively considering speculative warehouse and office schemes.

"When we were marketing Birchwood Park, the investors who visited were universally very impressed, and pleasantly surprised by what we had to offer. We now need to capitalise on what we already have and build up the working population on site and the portfolio."

More than 165 businesses employing 6,000 employees currently operate on the Park and will not be affected by the sale.

Walsh said: "Under the new ownership, the same high quality service level will remain and we are excited to welcome in a new era for the park."

JLL and BE Group are joint agents for the offices, while B8 Real Estate represents the park for industrial space.

Barclays Bank provided a £345m loan for the purchase, and acted as sole underwriter, MLA and bookrunner. It will now begin a syndication of a proportion of the senior loans with the intention to retain a substantial proportion of the financing.

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