European investor makes UK debut by acquiring Birmingham developer

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A Birmingham-based developer has been bought by a European property group and investor, marking its first acquisition in the UK market.

Blackswam Property has been acquired by Cordia International in an undisclosed deal which the Hungarian firm said would support its international expansion ambitions.

Blackswan is currently delivering around £550 million worth of projects in Birmingham, comprising 1,800 residential units and 360,000 sq ft of commercial space.

Cordia International’s development interests span Hungary, Poland, Spain, Germany and Romania and it employs 500 staff and has seven million sq ft of properties under construction across 43 projects.

Cordia is the residential development arm of Budapest-based Futureal Group which specialises in real estate development and investment in central and eastern Europe.

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It recently acquired Polish residential developer Polnord and took a minority stake in German rental and large-scale urban renewal project company Argo Properties.

The newly named Cordia Blackswan will continue to be led by its current management team including Marcus Hawley who founded the Jewellery Quarter-based business in 2009, with plans to grow its staff numbers over the coming months.

Its current projects include Hockley Mills next to the Jewellery Quarter station where it plans to build around 400 apartments and Gilders Yard, in Great Hampton Street, although work on this was delayed by the collapse of contractor Shaylor last year.

Mr Hawley said: “Blackswan’s vision has always been to create sustainable places that enable people to live happier, richer and more fulfilling lives.

“Being part of Cordia will allow us to fulfil that vision by delivering a £550 million pipeline of projects across the West Midlands.

“We are excited to join the Cordia family as they share our vision of creating new, well-designed places where people want to live, work, play and learn.

“2020 has clearly been a challenging year for everyone but we are very happy to bring some positive news to the region with this deal, especially in terms of the number of homes we will now be able to build and jobs we will create, both in our team, on our construction sites and eventually in our commercial spaces.”

Cordia’s chairman Tibor Földi added: “Our goal is to become one of the leading and most diversified residential development groups in Europe.

“The acquisition and recapitalization of Blackswan is not only our debut in the UK but the latest milestone of our international expansion strategy.”

The deal was brokered by Tony Haran, Midlands head of residential investment with property agency CBRE.

He said: “This is a huge vote of confidence in Birmingham’s residential sector and could facilitate the delivery of up to 2,500 new homes in the city by an experienced and well-financed developer.

“Cordia has big ambitions for the UK and it is a testament to Birmingham’s place on the international investment stage that it has been chosen first as the stepping stone for their plans.”


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