Network Rail has agreed to sell its commercial estate portfolio for £1.46bn.
The deal has been struck with Telereal Trillium and Blackstone Property Partners to help fund railway upgrade plans, reducing the need for taxpayers to fund the railway.
The news comes just hours before Network Rail’s newly-appointed chief executive Andrew Haines sets out his vision for the next funding period.
Telereal and Blackstone will now hold equal ownership of the 5,200 property portfolio, the majority of which are converted rail arches. The successful bidders where among four firms who were said to be in the final stages of arranging 150-year leaseholds for the portfolio.
Network Rail chair Sir Peer Hendy said: “This has been a very thorough, detailed and complex process and we are pleased we’re now in a position to announce Telereal Trillium and Blackstone Property Partners as the new owners of the commercial estate.
“This deal is great news – for tenants it will mean significant commitment and investment, and for passengers and taxpayers it will mean massive, essential improvements without an extra burden on the public purse.”
Network Rail launched the sale of its commercial estate last November. The sites are being sold on a leasehold basis, with Network Rail retaining access rights for the future operation of the railway.
Network Rail Property managing director David Biggs added: “We are proud to have fostered so many small, independent, diverse businesses and communities across the country and we are confident that these will continue to thrive under the new owners.
“Ultimately our role is to run, improve and grow the railway, and managing these properties isn’t essential to that. The new owners will invest in and grow the estate, and we can focus on our core business of running the railway.”
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