Kier Property is close to filling up its 20-acre Reading Gateway site – Hewlett Packard’s former home and one of Reading’s largest developments coming forward.
Kier bought the site alongside Investec in 2014 for circa £29m. In March of last year it gained consent for 175 new homes, 50,000 sq ft of retail warehousing and a 120-bed hotel. Construction will commence in March, with practical completion due early 2018.
Kier has sold the housing to Bewley for a 175 unit residential scheme and exchanged agreement for leases towards the end of last year with Premier Inn for a 120 bed hotel, as well as a drive through Costa Coffee and Beefeater Restaurant.
Market sources this week said Kier has now exchanged agreement for leases with Toys R Us and Wren Kitchens for two 20,000 sq ft retail units anchoring each corner of the scheme.
It is also understood to be in talks to lease the drive through restaurant to Burger King while Volvo and Nissan are believed to be close to signing for the two car showrooms.
There will also be a two-terrace Trade City scheme.
The site to the south of Reading, close to junction 11 of the M4, is a major gateway development site close to Green Park and Reading FC’s Madejski Stadium which has remained vacant since HP moved off the site in 2006.
The site was previously home to 393,000 sq ft of two-storey office and research and development facilities with parking for 1,182 vehicles.
The buildings have been demolished and the site is largely vacant.
Pip Prongué, Managing Director (South) at Kier Property reports: “The hard work of the team to secure the recent lettings represents a key milestone in the development of this scheme. Having sat dormant for so many years, the commitment of a number of major occupiers marks a significant step towards creating a new and exciting destination’.
Philip Hunter, director at Lambert Smith Hampton, said: ‘Having sold the site to Kier two years ago, it is fantastic to now see this important gateway site coming to life. The scheme that has been worked up is helping to satisfy pent up demand from a variety of sectors, and will dramatically improve the amenity in that location.”
“Kier’s purchase of Reading Gateway was timed to perfection. The market at the time had only just started to show green shoots of recovery. The recent activity on the site vindicates the decision to purchase the site for mixed use development at the beginning of this cycle. The gateway development will vastly improve the approach into the town from the south.” explained Neil Seager, partner at Haslams.
Haslams and Lambert Smith Hampton are joint letting agents for Kier Property.
By Paul Norman – Costar
BSC (HONS) MRICS