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Rockspring sells Cambridge Research Park to Royal London for GBP78 million

Rockspring Property Investment Managers has completed the off-market disposal of Cambridge Research Park, part of Cambridge’s high growth science and tech market, to Royal London Asset Management, acting for The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Limited, for circa GBP78 million.

Rockspring originally acquired the 112 acre site, in partnership with asset manager XLB Property, in 2014 for GBP21 million, with 80,000 sq ft of existing net lettable space. Since then, Rockspring and XLB have undertaken a significant construction and asset management programme across the site, including the development of an additional 80,000 sq ft of office/laboratory/mid tech space across three buildings, together with 76,000 sq ft of industrial space across a nine unit scheme called Enterprise 5000, which completed in May 2018. Two of the industrial units are already under offer.
The asset management undertaken has added significant value and delivered a circa 45 per cent uplift in the Park’s rental tone. Through delivering critical mass on the site Rockspring and XLB have enabled the growth on the park of key R&D tenants, as well as introducing a range of new occupiers to the Park. 13.5 acres of consented development land is included in the transaction, offering additional opportunities for Royal London to increase critical mass and create further value.
Kim Sardar, Director at Rockspring, says: "This has been a tremendously exciting project for us and a huge amount of work has gone into ensuring that this site successfully delivers on its significant potential. Having received an approach from Royal London, with the majority of the construction completed and a tangible improvement in the Park’s income profile having been achieved, we believe that now is the right time to crystallise the value we have created on behalf of our investors, and to hand over to an institutional buyer to take it forward over the longer term."
The purchase by Royal London reflects its strategy of focussing on larger assets in core locations where significant growth is forecast. Royal London is already heavily invested in Cambridge through its ownership at Vision Park and has identified this transaction as an opportunity to increase its exposure to one of the UK’s most buoyant regional economies.
The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Limited is managed by Royal London Asset Management (RLAM) and has a NAV of approximately GBP3.50 billion. RLAM currently has in excess of GBP100 billion under management across all asset classes, of which approximately GBP6.5 billion is invested in UK property.
UK Value 2 is the second fund in Rockspring’s UK-only closed-ended real estate strategy with a core plus risk profile. The Fund, which held a final close in February 2015, secured a total of GBP342 million of equity from 11 investors and will have a duration of circa seven years.
Bidwells acted for Rockspring and XLB Property, while Royal London was represented by Savills.

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