LONDON-Ashtenne Holdings–the specialist industrial investor–and AXA Real Estate Investment Management–the French-owned fund manager–have successfully launched t3, the first investment vehicle to specialise in the emerging trade park sector. Some £30 million ($44 million) in equity has been raised on the first closing, which will be geared with debt from the Bank of Scotland to assemble a £75 million ($110 million) portfolio.

Trade parks provide purpose-built units that combine warehousing and showroom uses, aimed primarily at businesses like builders’ and plumbers’ merchants, car spares suppliers and office equipment suppliers who deal with trade purchasers as well as the general public. Rents are typically higher than on industrial estates in the same area, but lower than on traditional retail parks.

Anthony Wardle, Director of Ashtenne Trade Park Management said: ‘The trade park market combines the strengths of prime industrial investments with the capital and rental growth potential of out-of-town retail property in its early days. Over the last twenty years retail parks and fashion parks have all been established as new and premium sectors within the property market. T3 intends to be the market leader in this exciting new sector as it develops over the next three to four years.’

T3′s strategy will be to acquire existing industrial estates and convert them into trade parks through rebranding and refurbishment. It will also to acquire and develop of new trade parks. To kickstart the fund, Ashtenne is selling it four existing trade park investments in Northampton, Sheffield, Truro and South Shields for £8.8 million ($12.85 million).

Knight Frank Corporate Finance sponsored t3 will operate the fund.

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