Airedale House in Leeds city centre.
Nick Hill

£6.6m sale completed for Airedale House in Leeds city centre

Airedale House, a 41,432 sq. ft. mixed retail and office property in Leeds city centre, has been sold for £6.625m.

Bridges Ventures, the specialist sustainable and impact investor, completed the sale of Airedale House to GM Legato Property. The sale price reflects a net initial yield of 8%.

Bridges bought Airedale House in December 2013, via its first Bridges Sustainable Property Fund.

The investor then undertook a substantial environmentally-led refurbishment of the property, including the installation of solar photovoltaic panels on the roof to generate electricity for the common areas.

This helped to reduce the building’s carbon footprint by more than 1,000kg of CO2 per annum, improving its EPC rating from D to B, while also reducing energy costs for tenants.

The transformation of what was previously a half-vacant building, has resulted in Airedale House approaching 100% occupancy. The property is currently multi-let to a variety of tenants, including Sally Salon Services, Slaters Menswear, Optical Express and The Prince’s Trust.

The buyer, GM Legato Property Ltd, is an investment company set up by Yorkshire-based private investor Graham Goodwin. CBRE advised Bridges on the sale, while Knight Frank acted for GM Legato Property. Lloyds Banking Group provided debt to support the investment.

Guy Bowden, partner at Bridges Ventures, said: “Bridges’ investment in Airedale House is a perfect illustration of how positive societal impact and commercial value growth can go hand-in-hand.

“By incorporating sustainable features in our refurbishment, we were able to not only reduce carbon emissions but also cut energy costs – which made the building more attractive to prospective tenants, and in turn investors. It has also confirmed our belief that West Yorkshire is an extremely attractive investment destination, and we remain actively on the look-out for further opportunities in the region.”

Alex Whiting, senior director at CBRE, added: “The refurbishment of Airedale House created a very compelling rental proposition for both retail and commercial tenants.

“So it’s no surprise that the building is almost back towards full occupancy, nor that it proved to be so attractive to potential buyers. We had strong interest from investors in North America, Asia and Europe – although the eventual buyer was based right here in Leeds.”

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