HUGE INDUSTRIAL INVESTMENT IS BIG VOTE OF CONFIDENCE IN NORWICH
Published 1 September 2022
The announcement of one of the biggest commercial property investments in Norwich for many years is very good news indeed for the city – and a big vote of confidence in Norfolk’s industrial property market as a whole.
The 92 acre Norwich Airport Industrial Estate is one of the most important employment areas in the city, although it is fair to say that its estate management over recent years has failed to fulfil its considerable potential.
Situated on the north of the city, in the 1980s it was the premier industrial estate in Norwich, but in recent years it was somewhat eclipsed as the southern bypass opened up the south side of the city. The NDR has once again – or certainly should have – opened up the north of the city as an attractive place to do business.
So the news that a joint venture, Dove Real Estate, has paid £35.7 million for the estate (well above the guide price), and more importantly, the pledge by the new owners to invest in improvements, is good news.
Jake Harris, investment director at Paloma Capital, one of the partners in the joint venture which has bought the estate, has been quoted as saying, “We plan to invest immediately in improvements to the physical environment, but our most important short-term objective is to make contact with our new tenants and work with them to unlock the potential of their units and the wider estate.”
I hope that early priorities will be improving access, including the Hurricane Way/Fifers Lane junction, and sprucing up the entrance to the estate, which currently looks very run-down. Appearances matter, and this should be, and look like, a prestigious place to do business.
It will be important for the new owners to engage with leaseholders in a way which did not happen under the old ownership. Too many of the existing leases have relatively short periods left on them, which is a barrier to leaseholders investing in their premises. Renegotiating these leases will be an important part of reinvigorating the whole estate.
I am delighted that this process has already started, and indeed I have been personally involved in the first of these renegotiations. Valuation of leasehold commercial interests is a complex area, and requires solid local market knowledge coupled with experience and valuation software technology.
As a firm which has been involved one way or another with the majority of the properties on the Norwich Airport Industrial Estate over the years, Arnolds Keys is very much looking forward to working with leaseholders and the new owners to find win:win solutions.
This significant investment is further proof that Norwich’s time has come, and that investors are prepared to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to boosting our industrial base. As we move into an uncertain future, that type of confidence will be crucial.
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