Helical plc has exchanged contracts on the sale of The Powerhouse Portfolio, comprising three Manchester office assets, to real estate funds managed by Pictet Alternative Advisors and XLB Property Limited, for a gross sale price of €133.5m (£119m). The net proceeds are at a marginal premium to the March 2020 and September 2020 book values and will be used for reinvestment into new opportunities and to repay debt.
The Tootal Buildings comprise two iconic Grade II listed interlinked office buildings providing 245,907ft² of office space. Helical acquired the asset in March 2014 and has undertaken a rolling programme to refurbish the vacant office space and improve the common areas, including the provision of a new café facility and revitalised reception areas. The building is currently 100% let.
35 Dale Street is a Grade II listed building situated in the heart of Manchester's Northern Quarter. The building provides circa 49,130ft² of office space, as well as 7,079ft² of F&B space. Helical acquired the asset in March 2015. The building has undergone a full refurbishment and is currently 96% let.
Fourways is a Grade II listed former packing warehouse located adjacent to 35 Dale Street in the Northern Quarter. The asset, acquired in July 2018, has just recently been subject to a refurbishment programme, which involved upgrading vacant office space and repositioning the central atrium and external elevations. The building provides 48,402ft² of office space as well as 11,607ft² of F&B Space. The building is currently 73% let.
Matthew Bonning-Snook, Helical’s Property Director, commented: “Having carried out significant enhancement of these assets during our period of ownership we feel the time is right to re-cycle the equity into new opportunities with our focus being on our core Central London market.”
Charlie Baigler, Head of Acquisitions, Real Estate at Pictet Alternative Advisors, said: “This is a landmark purchase for the investment strategy of Pictet Alternative Advisors. The Manchester office market has proven to be extremely resilient, with excellent supply and demand fundamentals. Manchester is attracting and retaining talented young professionals, the city is now the largest tech hub in the UK outside of London and is proving to be a significant beneficiary of ‘north shoring’. The quality and location of the assets ensures strong downside protection against the anticipated market volatility ahead. Our partnership with XLB Property ensures the highest standards in technology-enabled property management, with a strong focus on ESG.”