RPMI Railpen secures major 20 year letting for Iceland at Livingston Industrial Estate

Iceland, the leading British frozen food retailer, has officially signed for a lease of 20 years for its regional distribution centre at Houston Industrial Estate in Livingston.

The letting of the 284,000 sq ft warehouse, at a rent of £6psf, marks a significant transaction for the Scottish industrial market.

Owned by RPMI Railpen (Railpen), the investment manager for the £30bn Railways pension schemes, the Livingston site will continue to serve as a base for Iceland’s national operational logistics.

Alastair Dawson, Senior Asset Manager at Railpen, commented: “We are very pleased to have agreed a secure, long-term commitment from Iceland at this facility which ultimately delivers returns for our 350,000 members.”

Poseidon Developments advised Railpen in the deal.


Caledonia Park sports Adidas and Reebok

RPMI Railpen (Railpen) has officially announced the launch of global sports retailers adidas and Reebok at its newly re-branded asset, Caledonia Park, Scotland’s premier designer village.  The news coincides with the regional outlet destination experiencing its best week of sales performance on record.

Occupying a combined 9,112 sq ft, adidas and Reebok have opened in newly-refurbished stores, refreshed with new timber façade treatments and eye-catching paintwork.

  • Situated on the South Mall next to Nike, adidas’ new store at Caledonia Park offers the brand’s iconic apparel and footwear, including signature lines such as adidas Originals, inspiring customers to achieve their athletic potential.
  • Neighbouring adidas, Reebok’s extensive store is fitted out to reflect the global brand’s influential heritage in fitnesswear. Encompassing collections for men, women and children, the store stocks Reebok’s range of classic designs with innovative, modern detailing.

Coinciding with the openings, and the recent launches of Levi’s, GAP and Neon Sheep, Caledonia Park has also announced its strongest week ever, with sales growing by 28% compared to the same time last year.  The record figures were further boosted by Caledonia Park’s popularity during Black Friday.

Matthew Howard, Head of Property Asset Management at Railpen, commented: “Welcoming adidas and Reebok to Caledonia Park is a testament to the strength of its new identity as Caledonia Park, and the significant investment we have made in its comprehensive transformation.  The brands bolster our already strong sportswear line-up, which is key to Caledonia Park’s diverse retail mix, and have the power to draw increased footfall and sales, as we have witnessed in the recent record figures.”

Railpen’s investment programme at Caledonia Park is due for completion in autumn 2020.


RPMI Railpen appoints Richard Swart as new Head of Investment Risk

RPMI Railpen (Railpen) has appointed Richard Swart to the newly created role of Head of Investment Risk.

In his new role, Richard is responsible for leading and developing Railpen’s investment risk function, building on its strong existing investment risk measurement and performance capabilities. He will also be responsible for integrating risk management support into the investment teams, enabling Railpen to continue to deliver strong risk adjusted returns for its 107 clients and 350,000 members.

Richard was previously Principal Risk Manager at PGGM, the EUR 238 billion asset manager for the Dutch healthcare pension fund, and has also held investment roles at APG Asset Management and Deloitte. He joined on 2 December and will report to Railpen’s Chief Fiduciary Officer.

Michelle Ostermann, Managing Director, Investments, RPMI Railpen said:

“Richard brings a wealth of experience and insight to Railpen, which will both strengthen our existing investment risk function and further enhance our broader investment capabilities. I look forward to working with Richard as we continue to deliver on our mission to pay members’ pensions securely, affordably and sustainably.


RPMI Railpen makes direct investment in UK’s renewable energy sector

RPMI Railpen (Railpen), which manages £30 billion of assets on behalf of the railways pension schemes, has acquired a wind farm under construction in Scotland in a direct investment in the UK renewable energy sector.

Railpen purchased Tralorg Wind Farm in South Ayrshire, southwest Scotland, from global renewable energy developer, BayWa r.e. The farm, consisting of eight 2.35 megawatt (MW) turbines, is scheduled to be operational next year.

Lewis Vanstone, Deputy Portfolio Manager of Railpen’s Long-term Income Fund, said: “We are delighted to have acquired Tralorg Wind Farm. The wind farm’s sustainable, long-dated and asset-backed income characteristics dovetail perfectly with our core investment themes. The experience and expertise of our partners BayWa ensure this deal will be of great long-term value for members.”

Tralorg Wind Farm is one of the UK’s few onshore wind farms with a Contract for Difference (CfD) in place which effectively guarantees the price of the electricity it generates for 15 years. The wind farm will have a capacity of 18.8MW – enough to power up to 15,000 homes.

BayWa r.e’s dedicated UK service business, BayWa r.e. Operation Services Limited, will provide Railpen with ongoing operations and commercial management services for Tralorg Wind Farm.

Gordon MacDougall, Managing Director, BayWa.r.e. UK Ltd,. said:
“We’re very pleased to have secured this first project sale with RPMI Railpen. We look forward to developing an ongoing relationship with them and, once the project is operational, ensuring that the wind farm gives them the best return on their investment through provision of ongoing asset management services.”


Trio of retailers Launch at Caledonia Park

RPMI Railpen (Railpen) has officially welcomed three leading fashion and lifestyle retailers, Levi’s®, GAP and Neon Sheep, to Caledonia Park, which has recently unveiled its new vision as Scotland’s premier designer village.

Taking 2,766 sq ft, Levi’s® has launched at the destination’s fashion-focused South Mall, stocking its coveted clothing and denim collections, and iconic products such as the iconic original 501® jeans. In keeping with the global brand’s heritage of craftsmanship, the new store at Caledonia Park also offers free alterations to Levi’s® jeans.

Richard Hurren, VP Europe North at Levi’s®, commented: “Caledonia Park’s unique location, and commitment to an elevated shopping experience, make it an exciting addition to our outlet portfolio. We are pleased to form part of this designer brand destination and offer the broad catchment our iconic apparel collections and customisation services.”
American clothing and accessories retailer GAP has relocated and refitted as part of the revitalisation plans to a 5,913 sq ft unit, adjacent to the forthcoming Dining Quarter. In its new home, the brand continues to offer fashion-lovers its classic, comfortable, modern and accessible casual wear.
Adding to the destination’s lifestyle offering, Neon Sheep has selected Caledonia Park for a new 1,504 sq ft site. The store has been designed by an in-house team and stocks the brand’s full range of novelty products including gifts, stationary, accessories and homeware.

The trio of openings follows the recent announcement of Railpen’s major investment programme at the destination, formerly known as Gretna Gateway Outlet Village, including comprehensive architecture refurbishments, and refreshed landscaping inspired by the natural South Scottish surroundings.

Matthew Howard, Head of Property Asset Management at Railpen, added: “This wave of new openings is a meaningful endorsement for the recently unveiled Caledonia Park vision, which we will be bringing to life over the next 12 months.  Each of the brands complement our existing world-class anchors, and we are confident this news will create even more momentum amongst retailers of the same calibre.”

The three new stores join the destination’s premium fashion and lifestyle retailer line-up, which includes Polo Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss, and Nike.

Boasting excellent connectivity to key motorways, and accessible to a significant catchment, Caledonia Park is a regional hub that outperforms national and regional benchmarks, with year-on-year sales growth for the last six successive quarters.

Railpen’s investment programme at Caledonia Park is due for completion in autumn 2020.


RPMI Railpen Boosts Real Assets Team with Three New Hires

RPMI Railpen (Railpen), the investment manager for the £30 billion railway pension schemes, has made three appointments to expand its Real Assets Team.

Lewis Vanstone joins Railpen as Deputy Portfolio Manager along with Julian Allport and Alena Antonava as Investment Managers. All three will report to Ted Jennings the Portfolio Manager for Railpen’s Long-term Income Fund. The fund targets income generating assets in infrastructure, real estate and other areas with a high degree of UK inflation protection and low levels of risk. These investments help support Railpen’s objective of consistently delivering long-term returns for its 107 clients and 350,000 scheme members.

Anna Rule, Railpen’s Head of Real Assets said: “Lewis, Alena and Julian add a new dimension to the Long-term Income Fund team’s expertise, particularly in developing our in-house direct transaction capabilities.”

Lewis Vanstone and Alena Antonava will focus on investments in the infrastructure sectors. Lewis joined from Foresight Group where he specialised in energy infrastructure projects, prior to which he was at PwC. Alena draws on more than six years’ experience working at Arcus Infrastructure Partners.

Julian Allport will initially focus on long income real estate related investments. He has more than 15 years’ experience working in the long lease commercial real estate sector. Julian joins from Aviva Investors and prior to this worked for Consensus Business.


RPMI appoint Michelle Ostermann as Managing Director, Investments

RPMI has appointed Michelle Ostermann as Managing Director of its Investments business. Michelle will take up the role following the retirement of Julian Cripps in December 2019.

As Managing Director, Michelle will lead the Investments business as it manages the £30 billion of assets for the railways pension schemes to continue to meet the commitments made to the schemes’ 350,000 members.

Michelle joined the Investments business at the start of this year as Chief Fiduciary Officer with responsibility for determining the schemes’ investment requirements and risk strategies. Michelle was also appointed to the RPMI Board in September 2019.

Before joining, Michelle worked at British Columbia Investment Management Corporation where she was Senior Vice President responsible for investment risk, strategy, research and corporate relations. She has 25 years’ experience in the investment, insurance and pension industries.

Chief Executive John Chilman said:

“Michelle’s international experience and track record of delivering outstanding results in the institutional investment industry means she is perfectly suited to lead the Investments business.

“Her work this year as Chief Fiduciary Officer has shown she will be invaluable in helping us to continue to meet our mission to pay our members’ pensions securely, affordably and sustainably.”

Managing Director, Investments Michelle Ostermann added:

“RPMI has a huge responsibility to fulfil the trust that our members place in us, so to be able to build upon Julian’s excellent work and lead this business is a great honour.

“Defined benefit pension schemes, like the railways pension schemes, have an important role to play in ensuring members enjoy the financial security in retirement they work hard to save for with their employers.”


Cascades Shopping Centre scores Sports Direct, Flannels and USC

RPMI Railpen has announced the UK’s largest sports retailer, Sports Direct, luxury mecca FLANNELS, and USC have selected Cascades Shopping Centre in Portsmouth for 50,000 sq ft of trading space due to open in spring 2020.

Split across two floors, the new stores join Cascades Shopping Centre’s existing line-up of major anchor tenants, including Primark, H&M, and TK Maxx, as the retail destination celebrates its 30th anniversary.

The new Sports Direct store will embody the retailer’s identity as ‘the home of sports’, stocking sought-after international brands such as Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, Asics and Puma. Featuring the retailler’s new elevated store design, the site will also incorporate dedicated floorspace for USC, which will house the latest streetwear collections from labels including Converse, Champion, Levi’s, Lacoste and Calvin Klein.

Meanwhile, FLANNELS will offer customers its contemporary edit of luxury’s biggest names and emerging designers, adding to Cascades’ fashion offering.

The new stores are scheduled to open in spring, following the unveiling of a revitalisated breakthrough area on the ground floor of Cascades in November of this year. The space will form a refreshed gateway to the new retailers, and be home to year-round commercialisation initiatives.

Emily Atkinson at RPMI Railpen commented on the signing: “In its 30th year, Cascades continues to pick-up pace in terms of the breadth and diversity of its retail mix, as is reflected by Sports Direct, Flannels and USC taking such a significant store space. Our investment in the centre’s refurbishment will create an even more inviting atmosphere for consumers, providing a revitalised setting for these new retailers as well as neighbouring brands.”

A Sports Direct spokesperson added: “This is a major part of Sports Direct’s brand elevation strategy that will see a huge investment in a number of new stores, while upgrading and improving existing ones across the UK.  This is the strategic vision of the business as it aims to meet the demands of an ever more sophisticated consumer who is increasingly looking for not only good value, but an enhanced shopping experience.”

Andrew Philip, Centre Manager at Cascades, said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming Sports Direct’s attractive portfolio into the shopping centre. They are a huge brand, and we know that our local shoppers will be pleased to see many top clothing brands, including its FLANNELS range, introduced when they open in 2020.

“There’s no doubt that this is a big addition to our sport and luxury retail offering at the shopping centre and is part of our commitment to offer not only the best, but most diverse shopping experience possible. Portsmouth is a sport-mad city and this and will complement Victory Sports perfectly moving forward.”
The announcement follows recent celebrations for Cascades’ 30th year of trading, as well a newly-launched art exhibition at the retail centre dedicated to the Portsmouth-based novel The Snow Witch.

AS Retail represented Cascades Shopping Centre in the deal, while Sports Direct was represented by CBRE.


RPMI Railpen acquires 5.85 acre site with Wrenbridge for major London warehouse development

RPMI Railpen, has completed its latest acquisition, with the purchase of 5.85 acres of land in Waltham Cross, London. The site will be developed for a new, Grade A, speculative warehouse and logistics scheme with Wrenbridge acting as development partner.

The site benefits from close proximity to major roadways including the M25, A10 and M11, and is immediately adjacent to a railway link with regular 27 minute services to London Liverpool Street.

Alastair Dawson, Senior Asset Manager at RPMI Railpen, commented on the purchase: “The purchase of this Waltham Cross site reflects our appetite and ability to commit to large scale speculative developments. This is a great addition to our industrial portfolio which will increase our development exposure, while also contributing to our overall fund growth target. Primarily though, this executes our successful risk-return strategy to enable us to pay our 350,000 members pensions securely, affordably and sustainably.”

Jeff Wilson, Director at Wrenbridge, commented: “This is a strategic site which we anticipate will have exciting occupational demand.  A planning application will go in this year, with construction to commence next year.  CBRE, Avison Young and Montagu Evans are being retained as our agents.”

Ben Coles, Chief Executive at Wrenbridge Land, added: “We are delighted to complete this deal with Railpen.  It is hopefully the start of a series of high profile large projects across the South East.”

The purchase sees Waltham Cross join a wide range of real estate assets owned
and managed by RPMI Railpen, the investment manager for the £30bn railways pension scheme.

Montagu Evans and CBRE represented RPMI Railpen in the purchase.


Introducing Caledonia Park, RPMI Railpen transforms Gretna Gateway with £7m investment

RPMI Railpen (Railpen) has announced a £7m investment programme for Gretna Gateway Outlet Village, transforming the destination into Caledonia Park, Scotland’s premier designer village.

Designed by Urban Edge Architecture, RPMI Railpen’s plans include installing timber façade treatments to the units, adding canopies and enhancing the public realm.  The investment will complement the line-up of world-class brands, which includes Polo Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss, and Nike.

The revitalised Caledonia Park has been carefully designed in a blend of heritage and contemporary Scottish architecture, and has been landscaped to seamlessly reflect the regional surroundings and native species. The structures have been revitalised in natural textural materials including recycled stone paving and locally-sourced granite, with cohesive and considered finishes throughout.

Adding to Caledonia Park’s offer are adidas, Reebok, Levi’s and The Cosmetics Company as the latest wave of brands commit to the destination.  Caledonia Park’s regional status will be further boosted by an oasis of world-class food and drink in the Dining Quarter, with a focus on local produce via a Caledonia Park Farm Shop.

Boasting excellent connectivity to key motorways, and accessible to a significant catchment, Caledonia Park is a regional hub that outperforms national and regional benchmarks, with year-on-year sales growth for the last six successive quarters.

Matthew Howard, Head of Property Asset Management at RPMI Railpen, commented: “Caledonia Park will be a vibrant hub for retail and dining in the heart of Southern Scotland.  We have seen outstanding performance to date, and the refreshed offer and re-branding will bring a new level of momentum for the village.  The strategic regeneration meets our core investment themes and lays the foundations for long-term growth.”

The investment programme at Caledonia Park is due for completion in autumn 2020, although the re-branding is being implemented immediately.  The strategic leasing approach led by JLL and Johnstone PC is targeting complementary world-class designer brands and dining operators.

RPMI Railpen’s revitalisation of the destination coincides with the UK government’s £394m Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, which involves significant and sustainable investments in the region surrounding Caledonia Park.