Tuesday, 1 July 2014
Palmer Capital and Wrenbridge acquire Colworth Park in Bedford (UK)
Palmer Capital, the real estate fund manager and Wrenbridge, the Cambridge based property company, announce the investment acquisition of Colworth Park in Bedford, currently owned in a joint venture between Goodman and Unilever.
Colworth Park is one of Unilever’s major global research and development sites. Unilever has occupied Colworth Park since 1947 and currently employs c.600 people on site. Colworth Park comprises 91 acres of land with 350,000 ft² of R&D, office, warehouse and site support. The property is located on the outskirts of Sharnbrook, 9 miles to the north of Bedford.
In 2004 the Colworth Partnership (“Partnership”) was established between Unilever and Goodman.
Palmer Capital have funded the transaction from discretionary funds under management and will build on the back of its recent success in developing Discovery Park in Kent, where it is a partner in the consortium that owns the park. With Unilever’s continuing commitment to Colworth Park, the plan for is to increase the offices and laboratory space available, and to attract new companies to the park to sit alongside Unilever and other occupiers already benefitting from what the park has to offer. The target is to create 500 new jobs over the next 5 years.
Alex Price of Palmer Capital comments: “Palmer Capital, working with our partner Wrenbridge, are uniquely positioned to acquire Colworth Park principally due to our experience at Discovery Park, where over 1,000 new jobs have been created since acquisition in 2012 The business plan for Colworth Park is to work closely with Unilever and other key tenants onsite to ensure the Park continues to thrive, attracting new companies and further investment. We have a track record in delivering growth and believe this acquisition will further bolster our R&D credentials”.
Ben Coles, Chief Executive of Wrenbridge, comments: “This is a really exciting project for Wrenbridge. It’s one of our biggest acquisitions to date and shows how in recent years we have continued to do bigger, better and high profile deals funded by Palmer Capital.”
Clive Gristwood, SVP R&D at Unilever comments: “Unilever R&D has been present at Colworth for nearly 70 years and makes an outstanding contribution to Unilever’s Science & Innovation programs. Colworth continues to be a site of global strategic importance for Unilever and is the primary base for the Safety and Environmental Assurance Centre (SEAC) and Refreshment R&D covering ice cream brands like Walls, Magnum and Cornetto and the world’s largest tea brand in Lipton and PG Tips in the UK.
“In 2004 we started our journey of creating the Colworth Science Park when we went into a Joint Venture with Goodman, We now are moving to the next stage of this journey and are delighted to have attracted the investment from Palmer Capital and Wrenbridge. We look forward to working with them to further build the park bringing investment and new tenants which will open up opportunities for collaboration with new partners.”
Source: FTI Consulting