Darlington industrial scheme acquired

Premcor’s huge 24-acre industrial scheme immediately adjacent to the Amazon fulfilment and distribution centre in Darlington, was acquired in early December 2023 by joint venture (JV) – Greenbox – for an undisclosed sum.

Greenbox is a UK logistics JV between Partners Group, a Swiss private global equity firm and York-based Citivale – a property development and asset management company.

Premcor obtained planning permission for the site in April this year to construct three industrial/distribution units with a combined floor area of 402,000 sq ft for office and industrial space. The site was given the name of Fabric Darlington (Fabric) during the planning process.

The units, which varied in size from 84,000 to 213,000 sq ft can accommodate any design and build requirement and have detailed consent for Class B2 and B8 use (industrial storage and distribution) with ancillary offices.

The acquisition of the Fabric site is a prime example of Premcor’s ability to source and deliver opportunistic sites which match product with occupational needs – at the time of acquiring the site there were scarcely any similar ones left across the region.

This led Premcor to expect a great deal of interest from various quarters, particularly businesses involved in manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, given Fabric’s location only a short distance from the A66 and fronting a main arterial route between Darlington and Middlesbrough.

Additionally, Darlington is an established industrial centre with a world-class reputation for engineering – not only is the site close to local manufacturing occupiers like British Steel, Cummins Engines, Nobia and Whessoe Engineering, there are also high calibre logistics operators such as Aldi, Argos, DHL and FedEx nearby.

Speaking about the acquisition, Premcor director, Simon Hawkins, commented:

“We were delighted, though not entirely surprised, when our agent, Richard Scott, industrial and logistics director at Savills, reported that he had been approached about the site from Greenbox.

“Specialising in green, grade A logistics space in the UK, this is the second site that Greenbox has recently snapped up following on from its first acquisition, Greenbox Thirsk.

“We acquired the site speculatively in 2021, then obtained planning consent and now we have come full circle by being retained by Greenbox to manage construction on their behalf, so it is very satisfying to be able to see things through to practical completion.  The units will be available for tenant occupation by the end of Q1 2025.”

Romain Ruiz, member of management, private real estate, Partners Group, said:

“We are excited to announce this project which aligns perfectly with our commitment to developing new Grade A warehouses and promoting the decarbonisation of the supply chain. With this new add-on, Greenbox will be able to expand its footprint in the North East region and offer modern facilities that are built to meet the highest sustainability standards. This acquisition is part of our broader strategy at Partners Group to strengthen our presence in the UK logistics sector and to offer robust and eco-friendly solutions to our clients.”

Alex Reynolds, development director at Citivale, added:

“This Darlington site is perfectly placed for the Greenbox portfolio. In a highly visible and strategic location for UK wide distribution and last mile, to be able to add an ‘oven-ready’ site to our portfolio sets us up to quickly move forward to provide top-class, sustainable space in a stock deprived market. We already have occupier interest for Greenbox Darlington and with detailed planning permission in place, this will be Greenbox’s first net carbon in construction development.”

Savills advised Premcor on the sale of the Darlington site, WSB Property Consultants and Cushman & Wakefield advised the JV team. Savills and Cushman & Wakefield are appointed as letting agents for Greenbox Darlington.