A shipping company which brings in much of the UK's fresh fruit from Africa is moving its headquarters to Kings Hill, near Maidstone, returning to its original ‘dock'.
Africa Express Line (AEL) is part of the Compagnie Fruitiere group based in Marseille, France. AEL operates a fleet of eight state-of-the-art refrigerated cargo ships on a number of weekly services to and from West Africa and Europe/Mediterranean, handling and transporting time sensitive perishable fruit cargoes.
Founded in 2001, the company's first base was at Kings Hill before moving to Paddock Wood six years later. It has now decided to return to Kings Hill where it is taking 4,733 sq ft in 30 Tower View – the same building it occupied previously.
"Kings Hill is a great location for us," said Managing Director David Moreau. "Not only is it very easily accessible for our staff with plenty of free parking but its high quality environment makes it an attractive place to work".
"We moved to a distribution centre in Paddock Wood when Compagnie Fruitiere had located a sister company there and it was a logical move to share office space, but as that lease is now ending, we have now decided to return to Kings Hill. "
"The move comes at an exciting time for AEL and the wider Compagnie Fruitiere group as we look to replace some of our older vessels and expand our West African plantations and commercial activity. Our new office also gives us potential to expand."
30 Tower View is one of the most prestigious buildings at Kings Hill, close to the entrance to the business park and a short walk away from the shops, cafes, restaurants and other amenities in Liberty Square.
Andrew Blevins, managing director of Kings Hill developer Liberty Property Trust said that it was always good to welcome a former tenant back. "Since AEL left Kings Hill ten years ago a great deal has changed here," he said. "We now have extensive sports and leisure amenities, more shops and restaurants including Waitrose, hairdressers, doctors' surgery and many other outlets you would expect in a High Street – which we hope they will take advantage of."
"We are also taking Kings Hill to the next stage and are working on a landscaped public park, new housing neighbourhoods and extending various leisure and community amenities. All this is helpful to our tenants in attracting and retaining new staff, which will support their expansion plans."
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Notes to Editors:
Liberty Property Trust UK Ltd is a subsidiary of US-based Liberty Property Trust, a Real Estate Investment Trust, listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Liberty Property Trust (NYSE:LPT) is a leader in commercial real estate, serving customers in the United States and United Kingdom, through the development, acquisition, ownership and management of superior office and industrial properties. Liberty's 99 million square foot portfolio includes 568 properties, which provide office, distribution and light manufacturing facilities to 1,200 tenants.
Liberty Property Trust UK Ltd is developing Kings Hill - www.kings-hill.com - as a rapidly growing sustainable community in line with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), ensuring economic, environmental and social progress for this and future generations. Kings Hill combines commercial, residential, educational, retail, community, sports and leisure uses within 800 acres of highly landscaped low density parkland and aims to promote quality of life by providing a unique environment in which people can live, work, play and study. In addition to providing accommodation for SME's, Kings Hill also attracts significant international tenants such as Barclays, Rolex, Cabot Financial, Marsh, Arthur J Gallagher and Kimberly-Clark.
Liberty Property Trust UK and Kent County Council formed a collaborative public/private sector "partnership" to develop Kings Hill as an exemplar mixed-use community. Kings Hill is the County's flagship development for attracting inward investment and promoting regional economic growth.