Network Rail has decided to sell off commercial estate for £1.5bn, although the sale has been completed with Network Rail keeping hold of the access rights. The commercial estate will be owned by Telereal Trillium and Blackstone Property Partners.
The whole estate consists of over 7,000 property, of which 5,200 were included in the sale. The move has come following Network Rail deciding that more focus has to be laced on the improving the railway and managing the properties is not pivotal to that. Therefore, tenants will benefit from better management while rail passengers will benefit from more investment in infrastructure improvements.
The deal has caused some concerns based around the fact that small businesses feel as thought hey might suffer and so, it has been questioned as to whether the whole estate should have been sold off in one go. As it is believed that this might not be the best way to support local business and economies.
The sale process is still ongoing and still a long way off from being completed. However, if Telereal and Blackstone go through with the purchase, then they will be expected to follow the intentions that they made clear, which relates to putting the needs of tenants first as a priority. This will mean that the estate will be managed in the correct way, beginning with a transparent rent and lease audit.
For rail passengers, this move could be seen as a real bonus because it now means that Network Rail can put more effort into ensuring that the service they provide meets the needs of passengers on a higher level. For too long it has felt as though passengers have perhaps been overlooked but now, Network Rail has a chance to put things right.
The sale is just the beginning of a potential change.