Harbert and XLB set to sell fully let Farnborough park

US private equity firm Harbert Management Corporation and joint venture partner XLB have appointed agents to find a buyer for Farnborough Business Park, having secured the final tenant at the 125-acre park earlier this month.

The JV is thought to have sounded out a number of private equity houses about a potential sale of the park (pictured) in Hampshire, which could be worth up to £180m.

Harbert has instructed CBRE to advise on options for the park, having fully let its most recent speculatively built offices and carried out a programme of asset management initiatives.

“This would really test the waters of how strong the south-east office investment market is at the moment,” one source said. “There hasn’t been a lot of kit on the market recently, which is probably why this sale is being conducted quietly, off market.”

Earlier this month, the JV partners announced the largest leasing deal in the M3 corridor for more than five years with the letting of the entire I Pinehurst building on the park.

Contract research organisation INC Research signed an 11-year lease for the 49,000 sq ft scheme.

Vacancy rate at 0%

The building, along with II Pinehurst, was speculatively built by the partners and completed in 2015. Publisher Time Inc UK and multinational engineering and construction firm Fluor occupy II Pinehurst, with Time Inc UK taking a 10-year lease for 30,000 sq ft of space in December 2015.

The publisher has relocated employees from some of its specialist brands, including titles such as Shooting Times, Horse & Hound and Country Life, from its central London office.

Harbert acquired the business park from SEGRO in 2012 for £90.1m and quickly reduced its vacancy rate from 24% to 0% by securing a number of tenants including Vaillant, Capquest, Corporate Media Partners and Aetna. It then set about developing the first speculatively built offices in the M3 market for more than a decade with I and II Pinehurst.

Currently, the only vacant space on the park - which offers a variety of amenities including a four-star De Vere Hotel, a health and fitness club, cafés, a nursery and a new drive-through Costa Coffee - is 10,000 sq ft at Templer Avenue, which is under offer.

Planning consent is in place for the development of III and IV Pinehurst, which offer pre-let opportunities and total 153,000 sq ft. The site also includes six acres of development land.

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