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LONDON-Mapeley has formally indicated its interest in managing one of the largest property portfolios held by a council in the UK, the £600 million ($983 million) Bradford City council estate.

The company already owns and manages two of the biggest commercial property portfolios in the country – that of Inland Revenue and Abbey National. Now Mapeley is looking to do the same for local authorities.

The Bradford portfolio includes more than 3,000 properties including City Hall, offices, theatres and its rundown leisure centres. In addition there are development sites and investments that generate £7 million ($11.5 million) a year in rental income.

But Mapeley is expected to face stiff competition from a range of others interested parties including Bovis, Jarvis, Group4 Securities, United Utilities and the Babcock International Group.

In addition, the local branch of public service union Unison is preparing to oppose any deal with the private sector to take over the buildings. As a first step Unison has asked the council for a list of properties which will be affected by the deal including regeneration opportunities and property investment.

Other councils have already sought to outsource some of the properties but Bradford is the first to advertise for interest in a complete portfolio.

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