Blackbrook acquires high-spec UK logistics asset

Blackbrook Capital (Blackbrook), a European independent real estate investment firm focusing on mission-critical commercial property, has acquired Trenport’s 550,000 sq ft high-spec logistics facility at East Midlands Gateway in the United Kingdom.

The cross-docked logistics asset, which came online in 2020, was completed specifically for The Very Group (TVG), the UK’s second largest pure-play online retailer, and is subject to a long-term triple-net lease. 
 
Located next to East Midlands Airport, the UK’s largest cargo airport after Heathrow, and within one of the UK’s designated “freeports”, the facility is inside the UK’s logistics “Golden Triangle”, considered the best logistics region in the country capable of reaching 90 per cent of the UK population in under four hours. It has been built to high specifications with 7T floor load capacity, substantial parking provisions, ample manoeuvring area and 18m clear heights.
 
Known as “Skygate”, the facility also boasts class-leading ESG credentials, with a ‘Very Good’ BREEAM rating, rainwater harvesting, and preparation for solar panels on the roof. In addition, TVG specified numerous employee wellbeing amenities, including a gym, an all-weather multi sports pitch, break-out spaces and a multi-faith room – features which are increasingly important with the pandemic highlighting the need to provide facilities that maintain a quality work-life balance for all employees.
 
As the backbone of TVG’s operations with a bespoke automation system and gold standard automated e-commerce build specifications, the asset is one of the most advanced logistics centres in the UK. Relocating to Skygate has enhanced TVG’s significant resources enabling the online retailer to provide next day delivery on orders made 24 hours a day, greatly improving the customer experience. The facility also has scope for expansion in line with business growth.
 
The UK e-commerce sector has experienced an unprecedented boom throughout the pandemic, growing by 46% in 2020 alone. With a history dating back 100 years and a leading online brand (Very.co.uk), TVG is well-positioned to capitalise on this continuing trend.
 
The facility was built under a tripartite building contract by Trenport and SEGRO. Trenport added their specialist supply chain expertise to the development to deliver on time and price an automated warehouse that the CEO of Shop Direct described as delivering beyond all expectations. Blackbrook was advised by CBRE and Allen & Overy, and Trenport was advised by JLL, Cushman & Wakefield and Maples Teesdale.  The purchase price is undisclosed.
 
Arvi Luoma, Co-Founder & CEO of Blackbrook, says: "Skygate fits perfectly within our investment strategy of acquiring quality, mission-critical assets with good ESG credentials. The facility not only benefits from the highest specifications required by logistics occupiers, but also TVG has made its ESG commitments clear, investing in sustainable infrastructure and the wellbeing of its employees. Our aim is to invest in commercial real estate assets where we see fundamental long-term value in the property and in developing a partnership with occupiers who show strong growth potential, making this asset future-proofed.”
 
According to Trenport Chief Executive Richard Hall: “Blackbrook performed as they promised and like many others, see the growing importance of specially engineered, environmentally-friendly automated fulfilment centres.  We are grateful to SEGRO for their expertise and to our customer tenant, The Very Group who we have worked hard with to develop an advanced automated logistics centre that has the potential to scale and has also been designed with employees’ wellbeing, productivity and retention in mind.”