HSBC and LaSalle seek buyer for retail-to-residential site

HSBC Bank Pension Trust and LaSalle Investment Management are looking to offload a retail park in Watford for around £50m that is earmarked for a 1,000-unit residential scheme.

St Albans Road Retail Park is let to Staples, TK Maxx and The Range across three warehouse units totalling 102,680 sq ft.

The owners, which have appointed JLL on the sale, are inviting bids on an unconditional or subject to planning basis. Bidders may choose to purchase phase one of the development by itself, which could deliver 750 homes and accounts for around half of the land on the 6.2-acre site.

Bidders may also put forward separate proposals to purchase phase two of the development as well, which could accommodate a further 250 homes. A deal for the whole site would be worth around £50m, Property Week understands.

Vacant possession of the phase one land, which is currently occupied by The Range in a 43,547 sq ft unit, could be obtained within six months, and the phase two land is subject to lease expiries in June 2022.

Major mixed-use regeneration

The residential plans are based on a masterplan produced for the site in 2015 by architects Studio Egret West for 700 homes, including a 21-storey tower within the phase one land. The scheme was presented to the council and received positive feedback.

“Current feedback has been provided to suggest that a scheme comprising in excess of 750 homes on the phase one land alone could be supported,” JLL said in the marketing brochure for the site, seen by Property Week.

The site sits in the Watford Junction Special Policy Area, which has been allocated by the local authority for major mixed-use regeneration.

It is understood the scheme is attracting interest from a number of buyers, particularly from the build-to-rent sector because of its proximity to Watford Junction railway station, which is just 150 metres away.

The station is on the London Overground and Transport for London has proposed that the area be included in an extension of the Metropolitan line, which would create two new local stations.

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