Property round-up: Solar120; Alder Grove; Party Delights; Nolan Redshaw


CBRE Investment Management (CBRE IM) has completed on the letting of the Solar120 warehouse on Europa Boulevard in Warrington to St Helens-based transportation company, John K Philips on a 15-year lease.

Solar120, a former call centre covering 120,511 sq ft, with circa 9,000 sq ft of office accommodation, has been transformed under the ownership of CBRE IM, which completed its refurbishment of the site in June 2023.

The refurbishment has incorporated several ESG initiatives. Carbon emissions have been drastically reduced by retrofitting the building with heat pumps and LED lighting, removing gas supplies, and introducing a large amount of on-site, sustainable energy generation.

As a result, Solar120 is projected to emit zero kg of carbon dioxide per annum. The photovoltaic (PV) panels installed across 85% of the building’s roof, generating up to 670,000 KWH of renewable and sustainable energy.

Wellness has also been a priority throughout the refurbishment, with a multi-use games area, pétanque, and amenity block with showers and changing rooms now installed. Meanwhile, new landscaping has seen the addition of fruit trees, garden seating, walking areas, and wildflowers to support the local ecosystem.

Solar120 has subsequently achieved Carbon Net Zero in Operation and BREEAM Excellent, contributing to the warehouse being named ‘Building of the Year’ at the National Sustainability Awards 2023.

John Philips, chief executive at John K Philips, said: “In an ever-demanding world of sustainability we are excited to be relocating to Solar 120 as this exceeds the expectations of our clients and will prove a major asset in attracting new business.”

Ian Fairweather, director at CBRE IM, said: “As one of the first refurbished industrial buildings to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating, Solar120 has set new standards for the sector. The successful refurbishment and strategic repositioning of the property as a sustainable, high quality asset exemplifies our commitment to innovation and sustainability, with the intention throughout being to retain and reuse as much of the existing property as possible, to minimise embodied carbon.

“We have successfully positioned the asset as a vibrant and eco-friendly space that resonates with forward thinking occupiers and their customers. Signing this deal with John K Philips so soon after completion is a testament to the scheme’s appeal and the ongoing demand that exists for well located industrial properties of this quality.”

Solar120 has 10 dock loading doors, two level access loading doors, 18 HGV parking spaces, and 88 car parking spaces. It is located between junctions eight and nine of the M62, within one of the North’s most established business parks, and is well served by road, rail, and air.

Gerald Eve, B8RE and Moriarty & Co acted as letting agents for CBRE IM. Avison Young North-West Industrial Team represented John K Philips.


From left: Cllr Caroline Jackson, Jo Wilkinson (Lancaster City Council), Nicola Clayton, Lee Donner

Work is under way on the construction of some of the UK’s most energy efficient homes – the first of their kind in the North West and for any local authority in the country.

Modern methods of construction company Etopia is providing a panelised building system to create four new EPC ‘A’ rated homes for Lancaster City Council.

The new homes provided for residents at the council’s sheltered housing scheme at Alder Grove in Lancaster will drastically reduce heating costs for those residents moving in and meet the 2025 Future Homes Standard, avoiding retrofitting costs when the new building regulations come into force.

Under architects Mason Gillibrand and local contractor Baldwin Building Services, the project has seen the demolition of a structurally unsafe house to make way for four one-bed flats, a manager’s office, and community room.

To ensure an EPC ‘A’ is achieved, the maximum number of solar panels possible have been incorporated into the design and the electricity generated will be divided by the four dwellings.

Electric vehicle charging points will be provided, along with highly efficient storage heaters to maximise efficiency for tenants.

Nicola Clayton, head of business development at Etopia, said: “We’re driven by a mission to revolutionise the delivery of future proof homes across the UK. We’re in the midst of a climate, housing, and cost-of-living crisis. There aren’t enough homes and modern methods of construction like ours can help build affordable homes that people, like those in sheltered housing, can rent and afford to heat and live in.”

Using the insulated panels made in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, a three-bed home can typically be built in under four days, saving at least 20% water and embodied carbon during construction.

Cllr Caroline Jackson, cabinet member with responsibility for housing at Lancaster City Council, said: “The council is committed to improving the energy efficiency of its council housing stock and this is just one example of where we are taking action to do so.

“Residents benefit from homes that are warmer and will lower their energy bills, while at the same time helping to tackle the climate emergency as the council continues its journey to becoming net zero carbon by 2030.

Lee Donner, director of Mason Gillibrand Architects, said: “The sustainability credentials are a big part of unlocking this site for much needed affordable housing on a site with the added challenge of flood risk. We adapted the design to mitigate the flood risk as well as ensuring that these new homes will exceed current energy standards. This exciting project represents another positive step on tackling climate change and fuel poverty.”

Jack Baldwin, director of Baldwin Building Services, said: “We are dedicated to revolutionising the concept of home construction. Our mission is to create sustainable buildings that harmonise with the environment while remaining affordable for all. Through innovative design, cutting-edge technologies, and a commitment to eco-friendly practices, we’re reshaping the way homes are built.”

The project is due for completion by June 2024.


Claire Grasby

Party Delights, the E-commerce celebration retailer, has moved into 10,494 sq ft office space at Orbit Developments Cavendish House in Sale.

This deal sees the relocation of The Wonder Group subsidiary from Irlam, following the move of its storage and distribution function to Milton Keynes. The decision to move to Cavendish House was driven by the amount of available space enabling them to combine their offices and photography studio.

Party Delights has taken a 10-year lease, joining existing tenants, IT company Thinc. The popularity of the location is further evident with news of an impending lease agreement, leaving only 6,404 sq.ft of space available within the building.

A compelling addition to the building’s appeal is the new garden room, including a Peloton studio, which will be accessible to all tenants, and a coffee lounge which will be opened this autumn.

Dean Richards, leasing director at Orbit Developments, the building’s landlord, said: “I’m really pleased with the feedback we’ve received on the recent enhancements we’ve made in the building. Sale is a very exciting place to be and Cavendish House is in a prime location.”

Claire Grasby, Party Delights managing director, said: “This is a significant move for our company and we are very much looking forward to moving into our new home in the New Year.”

Party Delight’s offices and studio have been designed and project managed by Altrincham-based, Office Insight.

Mark Canning, at Canning O’Neill, said: “The search for new office premises took place over many months and Cavendish House provided the perfect solution, allowing Party Delights to accommodate both their offices and studio space under one roof, close to junction seven of the M60.”

Canning O’Neill & Cushman & Wakefield are joint letting agents on the building.


Location of the Liverpool site

Bury-based commercial property specialist, Nolan Redshaw, acting on behalf of a private client, has acquired two prime investment properties in Liverpool and Sheerness.

Totaling approximately 2.47 acres, both sites have been selected for their long term income security and strategic location.

Both sites are tenanted by WFL (UK), operating as Watson Fuels. Watson Fuels is a global leader in the distribution of petroleum, fuels, lubricants, and other energy sources and has been serving the industry since 1957.

The acquisition by World Fuel Services in 2014 enhanced an already stellar reputation, presenting an excellent covenant for the purchaser.

WFL (UK) has committed to 20-year agreements, with commencements in 2021 in Liverpool and 2020 in Sheerness. Additionally, annual RPI uplifts kick in after the fifth year, ensuring a reliable income stream and growth.

The tenant has invested significant capital to develop the sites into unmanned petrol filling stations for heavy goods vehicles.

Harry Bowers, of Nolan Redshaw, said: “The unique strategic geography of these properties and the security of 20-year leases to Watson Fuels makes both sites long term secure investments.

“We are grateful to Joe Sinclair at B8 Real Estate whose representation of the vendor played a crucial part in the success of this transaction and to Eoin Murphy at BBS for handling the legal aspects on behalf of the purchaser.”

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