International legal practice Osborne Clarke has acted for Palmer Capital on the acquisition of the Landmark Grade A office building, Aurora.

Backed by Palmer Capital, Cubex Land has successfully completed the sale of Aurora for £62.13m to Royal London Asset Management, achieving a 4.75% net initial yield. Aurora has been the only speculative office development under construction in Bristol and has therefore been able to secure record headline rents throughout its construction.

Aurora was funded by Palmer Capital Development Fund IV, a programmatic venture managed exclusively on behalf of clients of CBRE Global Investment Partners (“CBRE GIP”). The scheme comprises of 95,531 sq. ft. of office accommodation and forms part of the vibrant 4.7 acre mixed-use scheme in Bristol’s waterfront called Finzels Reach.

Aurora sits in a prominent position adjacent to the floating harbour amongst a blend of historic buildings and contemporary architecture. By 2019, some 2,500 people will be living and working at Finzels Reach, with 437 new apartments, alongside 240,000 sq. ft. of new office space. It will become a magnet for the public and tourists with 30,000 sq. ft. of shops, restaurants, a micro-brewery and a 168 - bedroom new Premier Inn hotel. The £250m, 1m sq. ft. development scheme has brought a new lease of life to the city, including the erection of the brand new £2.7m iconic S-shaped Bridge connecting Castle Park with Finzels Reach, which will further knit the Finzels Reach site back into the fabric of the city.

Aurora has set a new regional benchmark for quality and sustainability, achieving one of the highest accolades of ‘Greenest’ office outside of London, with BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ and LEED ‘Gold Standard’ environmental accreditation. In addition, Aurora achieved a Platinum Wired Score in January 2018, which is the highest rating for connectivity and digital infrastructure.

The office which has just been certified to practically complete is already 85% pre let, achieving record rents with each letting. Tenants of the building include intellectual property specialist Mewburn Ellis, which took 13,438 sq. ft. in September last year, law firm Simmons & Simmons, which agreed a 27,238 sq. ft. lease for the two top floors in January, as well as financial services Parmenion, an Aberdeen Standard subsidiary company, who have taken 31,233 sq. ft. on the third and fourth floors.

The building has been designed to the highest specification, arranged over seven floors, incorporating a stylish roof terrace, a secure basement car park and many features added to promote an inspiring and dynamic work environment.

Osborne Clarke acted for Palmer Capital in the acquisition of the site and provided the subsequent construction and finance advice as the fund put the debt into place, as well as dealing with all of the pre-lets and the ultimate sale.

Real Estate Partner David North led the Osborne Clarke team on the transaction:

"This is a hugely significant and transformative Bristol development. The success of the investment and the record sale demonstrates the increasing popularity of mixed-use developments.

Finzels Reach will attract young professionals to Bristol with its landmark bridge, shops and restaurants", said David.

David was supported by Real Estate Senior Associate Joanna Risdale. Legal Director Alexandra Gower advised on the construction aspects of the deal.

Osborne Clarke is a recognised industry leader in real estate providing a comprehensive sector-led service that provide responsive advice to a variety of major real estate industry organisations, ranging from developers and investors to property funds and corporate occupiers.


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