Reading Gateway, the 20.5 acre former home of Hewlett Packard, was purchased for £29 million by Kier Property (the development arm of the Kier Group) and Investec, and radical development plans for the site are set to have a remarkable effect on Reading’s economic activity and employment.
Historically, Reading Gateway was well known as the head quarters of Digital Computers and through various corporate mergers, it became a campus for Hewlett Packard. Following demolition of the 393,000 sq ft two storey research and development facilities, this prime site, located within close proximity of junction 11 of the M4, has lain dormant.
Lambert Smith Hampton advice
Lambert Smith Hampton advised Reading Gateway’s private international investor owners that with increased market confidence and occupational demand, together with a severe lack of supply across most sectors, the site could now be sold for a sum that met their aspirations. Following an intense bidding process involving a select group of major investors and developers, this sale was achieved.
The new owners propose to progress the site very quickly, developing a comprehensive mixed-use scheme. Plans involve a mix of hotel, car showroom, trade counter and logistics uses and potentially also residential, leisure and some retail. The completed scheme is expected to have an end value in the region of £75m.
The development of this site will bring significant new economic activity and employment to Reading and the Thames Valley. It is a clear demonstration of the increasing business confidence and economic growth now being experienced in the region, boosted by major recent, and ongoing, investment in the local infrastructure. This includes an £850m upgrade of the rail station that is nearing completion, the forthcoming arrival of Crossrail to Reading, and a £500m direct rail link to Heathrow Airport due to open by 2018.
Philip Hunter, Director of Lambert Smith Hampton explains: “Reading Gateway is probably the most significant and exciting development opportunity currently in the South East.
“Reading Borough Council recognises the importance of this site to the regeneration of South Reading, and has adopted a policy framework that will support a very broad range of potential uses. Taken together with the strong support for economic development from the national planning policy framework, now is an ideal time to promote the redevelopment of this site.
“Lambert Smith Hampton is extremely pleased with the result achieved on behalf of our client. Our strategy was to generate fierce competition amongst a number of selected investors and developers, which resulted in a fully unconditional sale within a tight timeframe.”