Gymshark bites into Blythe Valley Park

One of the UK’s fastest-growing gym-wear brands has chosen IM Properties’ (IMP) Blythe Valley Park (BVP) as the home for its new global headquarters.

Gymshark was only founded by fitness fanatic Ben Francis five years ago with the help of some school friends, but was propelled from start-up status to global brand by an intense social media strategy – and products loved by workout enthusiasts and professional athletes alike.

With customers in over 170 countries and FY17 predicted annual sale of £42 mill, it’s the current holder of the Fast Track 100 award for Britain’s fastest-growing private enterprise.

Now Gymshark has outgrown its existing premises in Redditch and signed a 10-year lease for a 42,408 sq ft two-storey office on BVP, which is one of the largest lettings on the M42 Corridor in the past five years.

The letting is testament to the strength of BVP, which in the past six months has attracted two 15,000 sq ft prelets from Prologis and Rybrook Holdings and seen PKF Cooper Parry and Abbott Global both relocate to the park from outside of the borough.

Planning has also been granted for Connexion, bringing forward 209,000 sq ft of premium industrial space.

Gymshark’s Chief Brand Officer, Ben Francis, was so passionate about the move that he’s already taken to YouTube to vlog about the creation of the new offices and its location, which fits perfectly with the brand.

“I was so excited about what we could do here and about BVP itself, I just couldn’t wait,” he admits. “The location is perfect. Set within a 122 acre country park, it’s so close to West Birmingham, which is home to us, yet we can be in London in an hour, in Manchester in 90 minutes and we’re right by the airport.

‘’I want this to be the best office building, in the best location, to attract some of the top talent to continue to propel the company forward. It’s ideal for a fitness brand with a Virgin Active Gym on site and a focus on Wellness at Work.

“We’ve got room for our needs now and also room to grow further as the business does. We will have about 150 staff when we move in but we have room for over 600 staff which future proofs our business. The quality of building and environment at Blythe Valley matches our ambitions as a business.”

Ben added: “We’re going to have huge chill-out zones, with ‘napping pods’, exciting food in a custom-built café, a cinema room, and the 11,000 sq ft space for that alone will be bigger than our last offices. We want to create modern, flexible working space that works for our team.”

IMP’s asset manager, Rob Hemus, was equally delighted, not least as £3m had been invested on refurbishing the Trigen building which will form Gymshark’s new HQ, but that the decision to take the space has been achieved even before practical completion of the scheme.

“Purely as a property deal, it stands out as one of the largest lettings,” he said. “However, it’s also great to see Ben and his colleagues so in-tune with our philosophy.

“We’ve had a big push to make BVP more than just a workplace. We’re set in 122 acres of country park. We have a gym, a nursery an independent coffee shop and a regular programme of tenant focused events, including a Wellness at Work campaign. We’ve even put in routes for walking meetings.

“We understand attracting talent is really important to business. We have invested significantly in BVP and now occupiers are buying the whole experience, not just the building. Blythe offers the work life balance that so many companies are looking for. All of this on top of the connectivity of the site to airports, train stations and major motorway networks makes Blythe Valley Park the perfect fit for Gymshark and their aspirations as a business”

CBRE’s head of Midlands office agency, Will Ventham, added:

“Right from the start, Gymshark loved what IMP was about and was developing a business location which was ‘not your average 9 to 5’, with a strong focus on amenities and wellness, and against the backdrop of a country park.”

It’s expected Gymshark will take the lease for the new offices at Blythe in November and then transform it into the super cool working space by March 2018 when they will formally occupy. IMP was advised by both CBRE & Savills.