Evergreen 1 was established as part of the 2007-13 North West Operational Programme, and includes Cheshire & Warrington, Lancashire, Blackburn & Darwen and Blackpool, in addition to the 10 Greater Manchester authorities. Evergreen 2 has recently been established under England's 2014-20 Operational Programme and is solely a Greater Manchester fund.
The Evergreen 2 fund will invest up to £45m of European Regional Development Fund monies. This will be allocated as £30m from Priority 1a of the 2014-20 ERDF Operational Programme, and £15m from Priority 4b.
Under Priority 1a, Evergreen 2 will develop, retain and exploit excellence in GM’s Science / technology / Innovation assets, through investment in the appropriate volume, specification and flexibility of commercial floor-space. This will include investment in the development of new sites, the remediation and redevelopment of brownfield and the development / refurbishment of commercial floorspace. Under Priority 4b, the aim will be to promote increased energy efficiency in particular in SMEs. The Investment Priority presents an opportunity to use ERDF resources to support improvements in the buildings. This includes energy efficient new buildings as well as deep renovations of existing buildings.
The Evergreen Funds are managed by CBRE who provides debt funding for commercial property and regeneration projects between £1m and £15m. The Fund is open for applications. Specific areas of focus include office, industrial, research and innovation and carbon efficiency projects.
Projects will need to satisfy a number of eligibility criteria including:
Eamonn Boylan, Chief Executive, Greater Manchester Combined Authority said:
"The Fund has become a major investor in the North West economy, underpinning its long-term growth and stability through the prudent investment of public and private sector funding. To further support this, we have added additional capital under the Evergreen Fund brand, introducing another £45m. This capital will focus on energy efficiency in buildings and research and innovation, areas that Evergreen has traditionally supported.
By adopting a long-term view and demonstrating unfaltering belief in the region’s lasting prospects, we have successfully unlocked brownfield land for employment use and ultimately to contributed to our economy."
The XYZ Building is in the centre of Spinningfields, situated at the heart of the Manchester central business district. The scheme has delivered over 13,000 sq. m of office space. The XYZ Building is a speculative development that has been funded by Evergreen and a third party mezzanine fund. The scheme would not have been developed without Evergreen’s loan, and brings much needed prime office space in Manchester’s central business district. Spinningfields is now considered to be one of Europe’s largest mixed-use urban regeneration schemes, involving a 30 acre urban block, 427,350 sq. m (4.6 million sq. ft) of commercial, civic, residential, retail, open spaces and 20 signature buildings set within six acres of public realm.
Growing Places offers loans between £0.5m and £5m at commercial rates and is aimed at unlocking property and infrastructure projects. The Fund has supported a number of schemes including Logistics North, a distribution hub in Bolton, and a commercial and retail scheme in Partington, Trafford.
The Fund is seeking developments which are financially viable but require funding to assist in scheme delivery. The Fund will not fund land acquisition or refinance existing developments.
Growing Places and Evergreen jointly front funded infrastructure in order to unlock individual development plots on the Logistics North site. The site is one of the largest developments of its type to be brought forward in the North of England. A former opencast surface mine, Cutacre, has been transformed over a number of years into the location it is today offering 250 acres of employment space and 550 acres for a new Country Park. The site offers design & build opportunities in an area with fantastic transport connectivity, due to its immediate access to the M61 and offers an innovative opportunity for companies wanting to relocate.
“Growing Places and Evergreen funding was instrumental in enabling us to deliver a premier logistics location servicing the North West. The loan we received funded the construction of roads, ground works, power, drainage and utilities. Having local authorities and funds such as these championing key regeneration projects in the North West of England is crucial to the continuing growth of the region.” Phil Wilson, Executive Director at Harworth Estates.