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Vodafone campus on the market for sale and leaseback as firm embraces blended working strategy

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Colliers marketing the sale and leaseback and repositioning opportunities of the Newbury campus 


Following a successful six month trial of blended working in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vodafone is restructuring its property portfolio by undertaking a sale and long-term leaseback of its Newbury campus. The site will remain the company’s UK headquarters.  

Colliers, the global commercial real estate firm, is marketing the opportunity to purchase The Connection, which was designed by architects Fletcher Priest for the telecommunications company and constructed in 2002. Set in 38 acres of land on the outskirts of Newbury where the company was founded in 1985, the campus consists of 486,270 sq ft of modern office accommodation, across seven self-contained buildings, which were all named after pioneers within communications and engineering, including Alexander Bell, John Baird and Edith Clarke. 

As the company embraces its new blended working strategy, which includes home-based, site-based and blended working roles, they are looking to compress their presence to four of the campus’ seven buildings. Vodafone will take a long -term lease on the four selected buildings, and invest in optimising those for the experience of their employees. 

David Fry, Head of Property at Vodafone UK, said: “We are fully committed to Newbury – the site will remain as our Vodafone UK headquarters, and continue to host the majority of our people. This is a change of ownership that ensures optimal use of the campus, and allows us to re-invest funds back into our business to better serve our customers.”

Each of the seven buildings at The Connection meet the same specifications: constructed of steel and concrete, three storeys high, with a full height central atrium. Each building has its own dedicated energy supply and back-up generators as well as a secure surface car park, with a total of 2,222 spaces available across the campus. 

Vodafone will remain the occupier of four of the buildings, the remaining three buildings Babbage House, Faraday House and Clarke House, which comprise of a total of 210,492 sq ft of office space will be available for repurposing for other occupiers, or even redevelopment for sectors such as residential, life sciences, media or logistics. 

Chris Lewis head of Office Investment at Colliers is leading the sale. He said: “The Connection is a unique opportunity for investors. Located equidistant from London and Bristol with a tenant that is committed to remaining in the area, it provides an undoubted long-term index linked income stream underpinning a refurbishment or redevelopment on the remaining site. 

“The town has grown in recent years and with significant residential development now on the doorstep of The Connection further housing could be a strong option, but the potential alternative uses aren’t limited to this and there will be many occupiers and investors keen to explore other angles given the location and excellent connectivity to the motorway network.” 

Colliers is Vodafone’s retained exclusive real estate advisor in the UK. 


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Chris Lewis

Head of Office Investment

National Capital Markets

London - West End

Chris Lewis is a senior member of Colliers’ National Capital Markets Division with over 25 years’ experience of investment work. He focusses on the office sector and with his team is active across the marketplace providing a range of services including:

  • Investment sales and acquisitions
  • Sale and leasebacks
  • Forward funding’s and commitments
  • Joint venture advice
  • Views and analysis on emerging trends and developments

Chris acts for a number of retained and non-retained clients which are a mix of institutional funds, local authorities, property companies, developers and private investors from the UK and overseas.  In addition, he has been involved in a variety of sale and leasebacks for corporate occupiers. 

Chris joined Colliers in January 2021 having spent over 15 years with Cushman & Wakefield where he was Head of Office Investment.  Prior to that he worked at a niche investment firm in the West End of London.  He commenced his career with a year University placement at Weatherall Green and Smith in 1995 which he subsequently re-joined in 1997.

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Robert Campkin

Head of Corporate Capital Solutions

Occupier Services EMEA

EMEA Headquarters

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Kim Inam

PR Manager

Marketing & Communications

London - West End

I'm a communications professional who has previously worked as a journalist for eight years covering a broad range of topics including politics, crime, health and housing in north London. In recent years I have worked in corporate communications for local authorities across London  and joined Colliers in October 2019, initially providing maternity leave cover.

I provide strategic public relations advice to various business lines within the UK organisation to secure recognition for their work in the property press as well as key target media, and work with our experts to produce thought leadership pieces which are of interest to our clients and colleagues within the commercial real estate sector. In addition, alongside colleagues in the PR and wider communications team, I provide media and social media training for our in-house experts to prepare them for media opportunities and raise their personal brand within the sector.

As well as supporting various teams within the UK business, I also I curate and edit regular content for the Colliers.com blog, which drives credible business leads to our experts.

 

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