Investor buys Wirral offices and predicts city exodus

Investor Hurstwood Holdings has acquired a 31,309 sq ft office building at Wirral International Business Park and expects growing demand for provincial office space following COVID-19. Tony McDonough reports

Gateway House
Hurstwood Holdings has acquired Gateway House in Wirral


A major property investor says the COVID-19 crisis may lead to an exodus of companies from city centres as it buys a 31,309 sq ft office building in Wirral.

Hurstwood Holdings, which already owns more than £175m of commercial and residential assets on 120 sites in the UK, has acquired Gateway House at the entrance to Wirral International Business Park, from Commercial Estates Group for an undisclosed sum at auction.

And Stephen Ashworth, chairman and chief executive of Manchester-based Hurstwood, believes the investment makes sense when companies may be looking to relocate out of expensive city centre offices and into more flexible provincial locations.

He said: “People now want to work closer to home and we want to capture that market of companies moving out of the cities into the provincial areas.  Wirral International Business Park is an established and successful business destination. When we came across the opportunity to acquire this striking building, we immediately recognised the long-term potential that it held.

“We have every confidence in the resilience of the North West provincial office market and plan to adapt the vacant space to create flexible suites that we believe will appeal to the current market as many companies look to work closer to home and in the provinces as opposed to the cities.”

Net initial yield (annual rental income as a percentage of capital value) on the purchase is 15%. The three-storey building is partially let to a number of tenants including Sage Care Limited, Willaston Physiotherapy, 4Choice and Msoft E-Solutions.

Mr Ashworth added: “We have had a very busy and successful period recently acquiring 27 commercial investment properties nationwide, both industrial and offices, in the last 24 months alone.”

Together Money provided the finance for the deal and Gateley acted as the legal representatives.

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