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Commercial Property: Cash boost for ideas; Unlocking potential: Project partner ready to back small developers.

Byline: Philip Williams

The Midland arm of a commercial property development company has devised a new scheme to help Britain's small, independent developers get their commercial property projects off the ground.

Morrison Developments will throw both its financial weight and expertise behind new schemes which are stuck on the drawing board due to a lack of funding.

The pounds 50 million initiative, known as Morrison Developments Property Finance (MDPF), is designed to benefit and encourage a variety of developers throughout the country with projects valued at an average of pounds 5 million. It is expected that MDPF will be used, initially, to support 15 new schemes each year.

MDPF is derived from the residential scheme Morrison Residential Investments Limited (MRIL) pioneered by Morrison Developments' sister company, Morrison Homes. In the last three years, this has helped turn 40 residential developments into reality.

The idea of MDPF is a simple one - any commercial property developer with an economically sound scheme can approach Morrison Developments, which then assesses the viability of the proposal.

If Morrison thinks the proposal will be a success, it will provide 100 per cent non-recourse funding - in return for a 50-50 per cent share of the profits.

Peter Garrett, Morrison development manager, who is launching the initiative in Birmingham said: 'This is an innovative scheme which will bring enormous opportunities and benefits to both our company and our joint venture partners. It will enable the success of sound projects which might otherwise never have got off the ground.

'Morrison Developments recently launched their MDPF scheme in the North, and has already linked up with a local developer to fund a pounds 12 million scheme in Gateshead.'

Elliott Ward, of Morrison's joint venture partner, City & Northern, said: 'We had already acquired the land and going into partnership with Morrison helped us get the scheme off the ground quickly.'

Mr Garrett said the Gateshead scheme was a good example of how the initiative could help local developers.

'We are committed to ensuring that good ideas don't languish on the drawing board because of funding,' he said.

'We are sure it will not be long before we see joint ventures launched in the West Midlands region.'

The types of scheme that will be eligible will include retail, industrial and office developments.

Residential developments and proposals will continue to be supported by Morrison Homes under Morrison Residential Investments.


Peter Garrett (left) and Roger Frith, of Morrison Developments, which is offering to put its financial weight behind commercial property schemes
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 5, 2001
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