QUORUM, one of the UK's leading business parks, has been bought by US-based private equity group Cerberus in a deal thought to be worth around £70m.
The deal takes the one million square-foot office park on Benton Lane, Newcastle, off the books of Lloyds Banking Group and a syndicate of other investors.
Quorum is already home to IBM, Tesco Bank, Convergys and Balfour Beatty and is one of the largest speculative office development in the UK outside central London. Property experts said the site could be worth at least £70m.
The park has potential for continued growth with a pipeline of over 300,000sq ft of newly completed office space to let. The business park’s senior management team, led by Fergus Trim, development director, will stay with the business.
He said: “This new investment from Cerberus is a huge boost to the Newcastle commercial property market and a real vote of confidence in Quorum.
“We are already one of the best performing business parks in the country, with 3,000 new jobs coming here over the last three years, and this will enable us to kick on with further investment in the park.”
The acquisition of Quorum increases Cerberus’s focus on the UK business park market, after it recently bought a majority share in Maxim Office Park, near Glasgow. Cerberus is believed to have paid around £30m for Glasgow’s Maxim office loan.
Lee Millstein, senior managing director at Cerberus, said: “Quorum’s unique amenities, location and newly completed office space are a tremendously attractive offering to businesses in the UK.
“This was a complex transaction that required our expertise in restructuring non-performing loans, and it will enable Quorum to reach its full potential. We are pleased to be making another investment that will further spur local economic development.”
Quorum has won a host of industry awards including commercial development of the year, commuter- friendly workplace of the year, and the Ways to Work award awarded by Prince Charles on behalf of Business in the Community.
The scheme includes new offices, shops, a restaurant, nursery, three tennis courts, a seven-a-side football pitch, boules court, BBQ area, 500 new trees, wildlife corridor, formal piazzas, water features, sculptures and public art.
Regional business parks in the North are expected to benefit from a new wave of ‘North-shoring’ inward investment opportunities over the next few years as companies outsource operations from the South to the cheaper North.
Cost-sensitive corporations are looking to move back-office and shared services functions together with previously off-shored activities re-shored back to the UK. The business park sector is expected to rebound strongly in an improving leasing market.