Hines Global’s Got Royal Mail in Scotland

The $32.7 million purchase of the sorting warehouse in Edinburgh marks the trust’s third investment in U.K. logistics properties this year.
Royal Mail sorting warehouse in Edinburgh. Image courtesy via Google Street View

Hines Global Income Trust Inc. has acquired the Royal Mail sorting warehouse in Edinburgh, Scotland, for around £25 million ($32.7 million). The 215,745-square-foot facility is located on Edinburgh’s Sighthill Industrial Estate, adjacent to Hermiston Gait Retail Park in the city’s west end. The property is occupied by Royal Mail and employs more than 700 people. It is the collection and sorting point for all mail from the east side of Scotland.

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The seller was RPMI Railpen, one of the U.K.’s largest pension funds, with assets of about £30 billion ($39.3 billion), which it handles on behalf of 350,000 pension fund members who are connected to the railway industry. RPMI Railpen was represented by Knight Frank. ACRE Capital Real Estate advised Hines Global, a public, non-listed REIT sponsored by Hines. In a prepared statement, Greg Cooper, Hines UK director of industrial and logistics, called the site “a key location for Royal Mail.”

Gray, with bright spots

Hines Global’s two previous 2019 acquisitions of U.K. logistics assets were a 139,387-square-foot asset in Milton Keynes, occupied by men’s clothing retailer Charles Tyrwhitt, and a 270,248-square-foot distribution facility in Bristol, occupied by DSG Retail.

Scotland’s economy is faltering, according to a November report from Colliers International, having seen a 0.3 percent quarter-over-quarter decline in the second quarter, versus a 0.2 percent decrease in the overall U.K. economy.

Still, commercial real estate investment in 2019 is on pace to hit £2 billion ($2.6 billion) for the sixth year in a row, with a substantial portion of that from Middle Eastern and U.S. investors. The Colliers report highlighted the purchase by Hines Global Income Trust of a 607-bed student housing property in Glasgow for £72 million ($94.5 million).

Quite recently, the Hines European Value Fund acquired a nine-story, 430,000-square-foot office building in Berlin for in excess of $178 million. The Atrium Charlottenburg is fully leased, and its anchor tenant is an affiliate of Europe’s largest applied R&D organization.