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Harrison Drury advises Kendal College on acquisition of Westmorland Shopping Centre


Kendal College will go ahead with ambitious plans to expand its town centre campus within the Westmorland Shopping Centre after completing a major deal to acquire part of the building.

The multi-million-pound deal will allow Kendal College to create a new state-of-the-art campus for 400 students over two levels of the shopping centre, while the lower mall retail space, indoor market hall and public car parking will be retained for the benefit of shoppers and the public.

The college has occupied parts of the shopping centre since January 2021 with some classes already delivered there. However, the acquisition will enable a significant expansion of learning opportunities at the college.

Refurbishment work on the building is expected to begin in the coming weeks, enabling the new campus to be ready to welcome students in September. New educational facilities in the building will include a TV studio, lecture theatre, science labs and a dedicated business suite.

The commercial property team at North West law firm Harrison Drury advised Kendal College on the purchase of the shopping centre from previous owner Longlands Limited alongside managing agent Praxis Real Estate Management.

Danielle Leeming, associate solicitor at Harrison Drury, said: “This is great news for both Kendal College and the town centre. Not only does it provide the college with the additional space and facilities needed to provide fantastic new learning opportunities, it revitalises a major town centre asset and the shopping district will benefit from significant additional footfall.”

Kendal College town centre campus

Kelvin Nash, principal of Kendal College, said: “Due to our increased student numbers and the need for additional space, we have looked at various options for a third college campus.

“The college’s use of the Westmorland Centre as a third campus will cement the college further into the heart of the town and its community, contributing to the social and economic development of Kendal and surrounding areas.”

Kendal College, which also has campuses in Milnthorpe Road and Beezon Road in the town, now has 1,400 full-time students.

However, last year it delivered courses to over 4,000 students comprised of its full-time 16 to 18-year-olds, professional and recreational courses aimed at adults, its apprenticeship offer and a suite of higher education programmes.

Harrison Drury’s team advising Kendal College on the property purchase was led by Danielle Leeming and Clare Davey. The firm advised the college in areas including heads of terms, deal structuring, refinancing and landlord and tenant matters.

Danielle added: “This was a complex deal involving many stakeholders, which included the college, funders, investors, leaseholders and the local council. It was also conditional on a number of factors, such as landlord works, streamlining of the property title, and gaining vacant position of the retail units.

“We’re proud to have played our part in helping the college to make its ambitious vision for growth possible as well as supporting Kendal’s ongoing regeneration.”

The deal has been funded through a mix of bank funding, Levelling Up funding and other grant funding sources. RSM UK provided tax advice to the college.

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