Maple Grove

Legal & General Set for Blackburn Cathedral Quarter

18th March 2015


Maple Grove Developments has pre-sold its 32,000 sq ft (2,973 m²) office building at Blackburn Cathedral Quarter to Legal & General Property for £9.1m reflecting a yield of 4.6%, a record for the Town.

The office building, One Cathedral Square, is let to Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council on a 25-year head lease.

The council will not take occupation directly, instead they will let the Offices to businesses looking for Grade A Office space to meet their occupational requirements. Agents for the development are Knight Frank and Trevor Dawson and Co.

The building forms part of a wider first phase at the Cathedral Quarter development comprising a Premier Inn, restaurants and cathedral accommodation arranged around a new public square and transport interchange.

Works on the project, which received assistance from Lancashire LEP, HCA, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and the European Regional Development Fund, are scheduled to complete in autumn 2015.

The asset has been acquired by Legal & General Property on behalf of its LPI (Limited Price Inflation) Income Property Fund. Launched in 2010, the LPI Fund offers Defined Benefit pension schemes an innovative way to invest in property with secure, primarily government backed, inflation-linked sources of income. With over £600 million of assets under management, the portfolio generates income yields well in excess of those from comparable asset classes such as index-linked gilts or social housing.

Andrew Dewhurst, director of Maple Grove Developments, said: “One Cathedral Square will be the first Grade A office building completed in Blackburn town centre for 20 years.

“Designed by BDP, and sited between the cathedral and railway station, the building will give occupiers the chance to re-locate into modern, efficient office space with excellent sustainability credentials.

“The transformation of this part of the town centre is now becoming a reality as building works advance at a pace.”

Adam Kerr, Head of long income transactions at Legal & General Property, commented: ”
“Forming a key element of the major regeneration of Blackburn town centre, sitting at the heart of the new interchange with the bus station, rail station and Cathedral, we believe that this Grade A office building will become an important hub for business in the region.”

Cllr Andy Kay, Executive Member for Resources, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council said “Legal and General’s first acquisition in Blackburn town centre demonstrates to us that the sustained investment in the town centre by ourselves and other partners is continuing to pay dividends. The location of this stunning, ‘city style’ office building, in the setting of Lancashire’s Cathedral will make it one of the most prestigious business addresses in the region”.

Henrie Westlake, Head of Office at Knight Frank, commented: “The redevelopment of the Cathedral Quarter is a prime example of an innovative local authority working with the private sector to facilitate large scale urban regeneration.

“The development will transform the town centre and provide an unrivalled business environment that is a step change for Blackburn,” added Mr Westlake.

The purchase of the completed development by Legal & General for the highest price ever achieved in the Town highlights, the confidence of global investors in Blackburn.

The Cathedral Quarter is a huge success and a credit to all parties involved”