ALMCOR CEO speaks to React News about plans to build a £1bn+ open storage platform

Jony Whittingham shares how to build a large portfolio in a nascent sector, first mover advantage, and how the industrial open storage market is shaping up.

Speaking to React News, ALMCOR CEO Jony Whittingham has set out a clear ambition to build an industrial outdoor storage (IOS) portfolio north of £1bn across Europe within the next three years.

“The portfolio is now more than £100m, deployed in the UK and split between single and multi-let assets,” Jony said. “We are closing our first acquisition in the Netherlands and have exclusivity on a number of assets in Iberia.”

In March, ALMCOR and joint venture partner Cerberus Capital Management announced the latest acquisition in the UK as we deployed £20m into a 30-acre multi-let industrial and open storage site at Bridgwater, South West England.

Jony explained how and why ALMCOR has identified IOS as a sector of interest: “It was apparent to us, as a consequence of the pandemic, that retailers and manufacturers would seek to secure their own supply chains via onshoring and nearshoring.

Outdoor storage, while nascent as a sector in the UK and across Europe, is essential to facilitating stable supply chains and subsequently it is a sector with a growing demand profile. That led us to exploring it as an asset class in a natural evolution of – and as an adjunct to – the overall logistics market.”

He also discussed why the partnership with Cerberus has been successful: “We had been tracking activity in the IOS sector and were aware of the Cerberus-backed platform in the US, which led us to explore how we could work together in Europe.

“We see significant opportunities to deliver both the scale and value-add returns consistent with the expectations of a valued partner like Cerberus.”

On Thames Enterprise Park, Jony described the project is a ‘once-in-a-generation’ opportunity: “It is one of the largest employment-led regeneration projects in the South East… transforming 412 acres of brownfield land on the Thames Estuary into a strategic employment and infrastructure centre, with up to 3.7m sq ft of modern, sustainable business space.

“Once the £1.2bn development is completed, it will accommodate specialised industries which want to locate within the Thames Freeport and the UK’s largest logistics cluster on the Thames Estuary.”

Thames Enterprise Park secured outline planning in 2022 and a programme of demolition and remediation to prepare the site is continuing. The latest phase of deconstruction work is a milestone in the site’s regeneration and will continue until autumn 2024.

Please find the full interview with React News here.