Forward sale of Glass Futures wins Property Deal of Year

A complex sale assisted by B8 Real Estate to enable the construction of a world-class research centre was named as the Property Deal of the Year at Insider’s Liverpool City Region Property Awards 2022.

The judges said the forward sale of the Glass Futures Centre of Excellence in St Helens was an ‘inspirational and exciting’ transaction that was set to bring a world-first to the city region.

Glass Futures is a £54m project which will create a 165,000 sq ft glass research and innovation facility in St Helens. Acting on behalf of landowner and developer Network Space Development, B8 pre-sold the facility to Standard Life Investments Property Income Trust, which paid £15m to forward fund construction.

The building was then pre-let to St Helens Council on a 15-year lease, which will sub-let it to non-profit research organisation Glass Futures to work on a way to decarbonise glass production. Work started on the project earlier this year and it is due for completion in January 2023.

Judges said the deal was ‘an intricate and complex deal that involved forward funding, leasing and subleasing with parties including the local authority, regional and national government, private developer, an innovative startup and an institutional investor’.

Simon Wood who led on the transaction for B8 added:

“It is fantastic to see such an award going to a project like this. The support from all stakeholders – including Standard Life and Network Space Developments – to make this deal happen was highly encouraging. It not only reflects the desire to deliver energy-saving projects like this but also the appetite to invest in St Helens and the North West.”

The awards took place at the Titanic Hotel in Liverpool.