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Upgrade of Bridgewater Place in Leeds on the cards after 'years of underinvestment'

Oct. 28, 2022

Taken from an article published in The Yorkshire Post on the 28 October 2022, here: Upgrade of Bridgewater Place in Leeds on the cards after 'years of underinvestment' | Yorkshire Post

The asset manager, which has already exchanged contracts for the acquisition, has created a new company, BWP REIT, to buy Bridgewater Place in Leeds.

The 30-storey office-led mixed-use building, which was independently valued at £63m in August, was the tallest building in Leeds until 2021.

M7 announced plans to buy the building last year, subject to a capital raise and listing.

Earlier this year, it said it had reached a new agreement with the owners of the building in Leeds and was progressing with its plans for the proposed IPO.

In the latest update, BWP REIT plans to raise £35m through the issue of 35m new ordinary shares at 100 pence each.

In a statement, the trust said it planned to use the raised funds to upgrade the building after ‘years of underinvestment’, including essential fire safety and cladding works, updating the amenity spaces, upgrading mechanical and electrical services, and completing cosmetic enhancements while also improving sustainability.

Edmund Craston, chairman of BWP REIT, said: “BWP REIT presents a compelling opportunity to create value in an asset that has historically suffered from a lack of investment by undertaking a number of essential and cosmetic asset management initiatives.

"Our aim is to execute a programme of works to create a high quality, fully repositioned and energy efficient office space with a strong amenity offer which generates long term secure income from a range of high-quality tenants.”

Richard Croft, executive chairman of M7, added: “This proposed capital raise and admission, will allow us to fully reposition this high-profile property to create a grade A office asset which meets the needs of the modern and future occupier.”

The acquisition will initially be undertaken through the grant of a 999-year lease of the internal commercial areas of the property to M7 BWP Propco, a wholly owned subsidiary of the company.

M7 will also be granted a call option to acquire the freehold titles in the future for £1.

The share issue, debt facility and issue of £23m worth of Loan Notes will enable BWP REIT to acquire Bridgewater Place and undertake a comprehensive asset management plan.

M7, either directly or through its affiliates, will own 8.57 per cent of the BWP REIT’s share capital after admission.

Visit BWP REIT PLC here

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