Bucks council teams up with Strutt and Guildhouse men for joint venture

Strutt & Parker’s Philip Ingman and Guildhouse UK director Graham Cole have teamed up with Aylesbury Vale District Council to create a local asset-backed vehicle (LABV).

Aylesbury Vale Estates will be controlled by public partnership expert Guildhouse’s investment arm, Akeman Investment, and the council in a 50:50 split. It will be run by Akeman Management, a joint venture between Guildhouse and Ingman in his role as managing director of Strutt’s real estate financial services arm, SPREFS.

SPREFS’ fund advisory and corporate advisory business is contracted to Ingman’s new company, Ingman Jones, which he set up with Nick Harvey Jones. However, he remains SPREFS’ managing director.

LABVs, whereby a local authority that has property assets teams up with a private sector partner to develop schemes, are still in their infancy, and only a handful have been agreed so far, most notably in Croydon.

Aylesbury Vale Estates will have a minimum lifespan of 20 years and the council will transfer ownership of its key industrial estate portfolio, along with shops, offices and development sites, to the vehicle. The portfolio has more than 250 tenants and produces a rental income of around £3.4m a year.

The aim of the venture is to enable the estate to be commercially managed and redeveloped to attract new businesses to the area.

The Aylesbury venture is Cole’s second notable deal this year. He runs retail asset manager Scoop AM with Stuart Farnell, and in June it bought Land Securities’ Fremlin Walk shopping centre in Maidstone for £69m in a joint venture with Europa Capital Partners.

“This is truly an asset-backed vehicle,” said Cole. “Others being set up are more focused on masterplanning than assets themselves. This deal is a great example of how to work in a ‘bad market’. Myself and Philip have the experience needed.”

Michael Edmonds, deputy leader and cabinet member for economic development at Aylesbury Vale District Council, said: “We want businesses to expand in or relocate to Aylesbury Vale.

“Joining forces with the Akeman Partnership is our best opportunity to do this. Rent from the portfolio provides an important income stream which has helped cover the cost of council services for some time now.”

Drivers Jonas advised the council.