£23m JESSICA fund launch attracts huge interest
On Friday 26 April 2013, the Advanced Manufacturing Park welcomed crowds of interested business people to the launch of the Sheffield City Region JESSICA Fund. The Fund has now started looking for infrastructure and real estate investment opportunities in the Sheffield City Region.
The fund, which has an initial pool of £23 million to invest, made up of European Regional Development Fund’s (ERDF) and Growing Places money, aims to provide capital for projects at competitive commercial rates where funding sources are currently proving difficult to find in the ordinary commercial capital markets. Money from the repayment of these loans will be recycled back into the fund to finance new projects. The fund will commit capital to regeneration opportunities with a focus on office and industrial developments which meet the ERDF’s targets on employment, remediation and floorspace outputs.
James Newman, Chairman of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said:
“We have been working very closely with our private sector colleagues in the construction industry and time and time again they refer to access to finance as a major barrier to development. This fund is a direct response to this and whilst it will not solve every problem or be suitable for every development, it puts in place a significant financial tool to help stimulate the local economy”.
“Importantly, we expect to see a return on the investments, which will then be recycled into further projects over the next 10 years. It is hoped that over time it will be able to also support investment across the wider city region.”
Developers with commercial property or infrastructure projects that can drive regional economic growth and generate a financial return are now able to apply to CBRE, the appointed Fund Manager, for loans, or potential equity commitments, of up to £4.3 million per project. Qualifying developments will fall within the Sheffield City Region, which comprises; Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley, Doncaster, Chesterfield, North East Derbyshire, Bolsover, Bassetlaw and the Derbyshire Dales.
Tony Martin, Head of Investment Advisory, CBRE, said:
“The SCR JESSICA Fund aims to underpin the region’s long-term growth and stability through an innovative mix of public and private funding. It will give developers the opportunity to secure much-needed finance for strategic sites that will make a significant contribution to the success of the Sheffield City Region economy. The fund is looking for projects that could promote sustainable employment, rejuvenate areas or create new opportunities for communities across the region.”
Councillor Leigh Bramall, Cabinet Member for Business, Skills and Development at Sheffield City Council, added:
“The Council, through Creative Sheffield, has worked closely with City Region partners to enable this important project to progress. We were convinced of the need for the fund and made sure that an appropriate structure was in place to make it happen. This fund will stimulate growth and overcome barriers to growth in the development and property sectors”.
“JESSICA funds are established by the European Union. There are only a limited number operational in the UK. The way we have set up this fund puts us in a strong position to meet the needs specific to our local economy”.