Jet2 is among the occupiers. Credit: via Candid PR

Leopard Capital pounces on West Yorks industrial

Leeds Bradford Airport Depot, a 1.25m sq ft multi-let estate adjacent to the airport, has been sold by long-term owner Broadland Properties for £25m.

In a deal that represents one of the North of England’s largest property investments this year, the 60-acre estate, which comprises a single building structure, has been traded by Broadland, its owner since 1969.

Broadland Properties Group was advised by Leeds consultancy, GV&Co, with Commercial Property Partners representing Leopard Capital, a London investment management and advisory firm making its maiden venture into Yorkshire.

With this acquisition, Leopard Capital has now transacted 1.7m sq ft of floorspace across seven purchases.

LBAD is directly accessible from the A658 Harrogate Road and offers accommodation in 15 units, ranging from approximately 25,000 sq ft to 150,000 sq ft.

Notable tenants include APCOA, VPK Packaging, Jet2, VLT Logistics, and Toyota Tsusho.

James Hill, director at Broadland Properties, said: “After significant capital investment in the building, it became a true engine of growth, with a strong continuing income stream. With changing Group investment criteria and an ambitious acquisition pipeline, the time had come for Broadland Properties to pass this signature building into new ownership.”

Alex Fordyce, chief executive of Leopard Capital, said that structural undersupply of industrial space in the area; the expansion of the adjacent airport in the £100m LBA:REGEN project and an ambitious asset management programme including ESG improvements will drive value.

Garry Howes, director of investment at GV&Co, said “LBAD is a unique, high-yield, multi-let investment opportunity with a rich trading history. The deal reflects confidence in the industrial sector and the North of England’s commercial property market.”

LBAD played a pivotal role in reinforcing Britain’s military strength in the sky during World War Two. It was originally built by the Avro Aircraft Company and between 1939 and 1946 it became a ‘shadow factory’ with its roof camouflaged in grass, complete with imitation farm buildings and dummy animals.

This meant from the sky it looked like agricultural land rather than the largest industrial production centre in Europe, which it quickly evolved into: around 700 Lancaster bombers and 4,500 Ansons were built at the site by a 17,500-strong workforce. The remains of the taxiway from the factory to the main airfield, which later became Leeds Bradford Airport, are still visible.

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