One of the country’s largest manufacturers of wheelchair-accessible vehicles has bought a chunk of the vast former British Ceramic Tile factory in Devon.
Oxenwood Real Estate, the UK and European real estate investment management firm, and its joint venture partner, Mulberry Developments, have sold the second unit at the newly-acquired site, now renamed PowerPark 38, to GM Coachwork.
The Devon company will move into Unit C, which totals 68,500sq ft, before Christmas 2020 when refurbishment works are completed. The former tile factory is located on Heathfield Industrial Estate next to the A38 Devon Expressway in Newton Abbot.
Oxenwood and Mulberry acquired the 390,000sq ft factory from administrators in September 2019 and are refurbishing and reconfiguring it into three or four separate units. The site has a large reserved power supply with multiple substations.
Oxenwood Real Estate was established by co-founders Jeremy Bishop and Stewart Little as a real estate investment management firm in May 2014.
The group invests directly and in joint venture with domestic and international institutions in the UK and Europe. The company is a multi-sector opportunistic investor but is currently focusing on the logistics sector. Mr Bishop and Mr Little began working together 13 years ago. Andrew Walker is chairman.
Mulberry Developments is a privately owned and funded property developer who is experienced, well -resourced and successful in developing properties in the commercial and residential sectors. It has delivered more than 5,000,000sq ft of commercial development including significant logistics schemes.
Mulberry has experience in the logistics sector including acquisition and promotion of the development of the 1,000,000sq ft Primark Unit at Islip in Northamptonshire, Connex Park in Harlow and the end-to-end development of Midlands Logistics Park in Corby.
The site has been vacant since January 2019 when British Ceramic Tile, the UK’s largest maker and distributor of wall and floor tiles, went into administration with the loss of 300 jobs. It blamed the loss of a key customer for tipping it into administration.
Stewart Little, co-founder of Oxenwood, which acquired its share of the site for its joint venture, Oxenwood Catalina, said: “We are delighted to follow up the recent sale to Gregory Distribution with this new transaction to GM Coachwork.
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“Undoubtedly, the product that we are creating is suiting the demand from owner-occupiers. Our focus is now on completing the refurbishment and securing a sale or letting on the remaining 200,000sq ft of floorspace”.
David Vooght, chief executive of GM Coachwork, said: “This is a strategic acquisition for the firm and will allow our business to expand and merge several operations into this site.
“PowerPark 38 is in a great location for our staff and customers. We have worked with the PowerPark team to adapt the unit to suit our specific needs”.
Oxenwood and Mulberry were advised by JLL on the sale. Tim Western, lead director at JLL in Exeter, said “This latest sale shows that despite Covid-19, the South West business community has confidence in the future and wants to grow.
“The remaining part of the property can provide accommodation for manufacturing or distribution companies from 70,000sq ft to 200,000sq ft. The space offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for local, regional or national businesses”.