Investment company heads north to make first major deal

THE headquarters of Northern Foods has been sold in a multi-million-pound deal.

GMI Property sold 2180 Century Way, in Thorpe Park, Leeds, to private investment and asset management company Formal Investments.

The acquisition marks the first venture in the North of England for Formal Investments who have major holdings in the South.

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The 25,982 sq ft detached building was built in 2005 and is let to Northern Foods on a 10-year lease until February 2015.

The value of the deal and yield is undisclosed but the building was put on the market for offers in the region of 5.07m and is rented out for 455,625 a year.

Harrogate-based Ripley Capital advised Formal Investments on the purchase.

Nick King, director of Formal Investments, said: "Working with Ripley Capital has opened up a new market for us in the Yorkshire region and we are very pleased with this first purchase.

"This marks the expansion of our business away from our traditional investment locations. Together with other projects we are advancing with Ripley Capital demonstrates our desire to grow our portfolio in the region."

Mark Leonard, director of Ripley Capital, added: "The acquisition of the Northern Foods building gives Formal Investments an important foothold in the Leeds property market. With further investment on the horizon, we are looking forward to helping to expand the Formal business in the region through our partnership."

Leeds-based GMI, which developed Thorpe Park, was represented by DTZ in the deal.

James Poskitt, managing director at GMI, said: "Our association with what is the premier business park in the North of England, Thorpe Park, Leeds, stretches back some 20 years as developer and investor. The location's ability to attract high-quality tenants and investment capital continues."

Tim Cameron-Jones, investment director at DTZ, said: "While the market remains challenging, this recent deal demonstrates the strong opportunities available for investor in the Leeds office market, which has seen DTZ advise on transactions exceeding 88m in the last 12 months alone."

Comprising 250 acres and capacity for 1.8m sq ft of offices, Thorpe Park is among the largest campus office developments in the UK.

GMI developed in excess of 600,000 sq ft of office accommodation at Thorpe Park before disposing of it to partners, Valad Property Group. Other occupiers include IBM, Regus, WS Atkins, National Grid, Republic, and GE Capital.