Clearbell UK Strategic Trust (CST), a fund advised by Clearbell Capital LLP, has added four properties to its portfolio.
CST has acquired Freetrade Exchange from CBRE GI for £9.84m, a Grade II listed office building of just over 36,000 sq ft on Peter Street in Manchester. It is located between two of the city’s most popular business districts, St Peters Square and Spinningfields. Comprehensive refurbishment works will commence on the building in January 2022, which aim to bring the building’s period features to life and enhance its heritage. The refurbishment will deliver a highly specified grade A building with extensive amenity and a wellbeing offering, including gym, exercise space and cycle facilities.
In addition, CST has acquired two further office buildings in Watford and Islington, totalling 57,000 sq ft. The acquisitions support Clearbell’s view that the market for quality offices centred on ESG and user experience remains robust. The 39,000 sq ft office at 46 Clarendon Road in Watford was acquired from M&G and is principally let to retailer Ralph Lauren. It will undergo a substantial refurbishment in collaboration with Ralph Lauren. The asset in Islington is located on Colebrook Row and comprises 18,000 sq ft of unique warehouse-style accommodation. It is fully let and occupants include Valtech and Cult Beauty.
CST has also purchased a vacant 72,000 sq ft industrial asset in Manton Wood, with a refurbishment now underway and a new letting under offer, expected to complete in early Autumn.
Clearbell and LaSalle Global Partner Solutions established CST in October 2020 with initial committed capital plus debt, totalling £125 million. The recent acquisitions are reflective of the fund’s strategy to invest in value-add industrial, office and other mixed-use real estate assets in UK-wide established business districts.
Clearbell said already in the portfolio are two laboratory and office buildings at Oxford Science Park, acquired in November 2020.
“Each of these acquisitions demonstrate a perfect example of CST’s strategy and we look forward to increasing our momentum over the coming months to fully deploy the fund’s capital. The acquisition of Freetrade Exchange demonstrates our confidence in Manchester as a booming business centre and powerhouse of the regional economy. The city is a great place to live, as demonstrated by high graduate retention, and a rare cocktail of vibrant and mature industries in the creative, tech and media sectors. We look forward to bringing this building back to life and delivering a unique and special project,” said Joe Bridger, CST Fund Manager and Investment Director at Clearbell Capital.