22 May 2023

Graftongate hands over new ‘home of British helicopters’

Leading real estate developer, Graftongate, has completed work on a new £28 million state-of-the-art helicopter logistics hub on behalf of the UK’s only onshore helicopter manufacturer, Leonardo. 

Eight existing warehouses have been consolidated into a single all-encompassing logistics hub of c.210,000 sq ft on a 10-acre brownfield site in Yeovil. 

Dubbed the new ‘home of British helicopters’, it will support Leonardo’s global fleet through the storage of components and tooling, maximising efficiency and reducing energy consumption. 

The building boasts a range of sustainability features, including rainwater harvesting tanks, full LED lighting, heat recovery system, EV charging and a modern office temperature control system.  

It will be occupied by Leonardo’s logistics partner, Kuehne+Nagel on a ten-year logistics contract.  

The development was fully funded by a local government pension scheme, advised by CBRE Investment Advisory. Under the terms of the deal, Leonardo has the right to purchase the freehold interest in the new building for a nominal sum on expiry of a 35-year FRI lease.  

The new high-tech warehouse won Best Agency Initiative and Deal of the Year – 100,000 sq ft to 250,000 sq ft at the 2022 Industrial Agents Society Awards. 

Jamie Hockaday, director at Graftongate, said: “This first-class development is the result of several years of work in partnership with Leonardo and its third-party logistics provider, Kuehne+Nagel. 

“While cost savings and efficiency were inherent to this single site solution, it was of equal significance that there should be no capital cost to Leonardo in developing the new facility. We formulated the concept of a long-dated distribution ‘income strip’, whereby the annual rent payable does not exceed the level of existing lease liabilities, the capital outlay is funded by a third party and Leonardo can acquire the building in the future at a nominal value.” 

Graftongate was advised by Kimmre and Avison Young, while Clews & Co acted for Kuehne+Nagel. 

The project team included Trinity Property Consultants, RPS Group, Engineering Services Consultancy, CWA Engineering, UMC Architects and GMI Construction Group. 

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