Monday 26th Sep 2016 - Logistics Manager

Jewel in the crown

Northampton is the jewel in the crown of logistics locations but can it still pack a punch? Liza Helps takes a closer look.

There is space in Northamptonshire, but it’s not necessarily the space that everyone wants. As in many locations immediately available Grade A warehousing is in tight supply, but such is demand that developers, as well as bringing forward sites, are beginning to build speculatively or, it is rumoured, to have put the decision to build speculatively back on the agenda.

Developer Roxhill is currently speculatively building a 110,000 sq ft, warehouse at Brackmills Point. The development, to be known as Brackmills 110, has 12m eaves and is being marketed by Jones Lang LaSalle, North Rae Sanders and Burbage Realty off a quoting rent of £5.95 per sq ft. Property pundits are expecting to see the development, which is due for completion in the spring, let before too long – such is the strength of demand.

David Willmer of GVA says: “Demand is increasing and the supply side is so much tighter.” He notes that it was only recently that Harbut and Canmoor were planning to redevelop a facility known as Storm18 but such was the strength of demand and indeed shortage of supply, that the joint venture was persuaded to forgo their plans and let the property to Norbert Dentressangle on a 15-year lease with a break at year ten off a rent of £4.50 per sq ft.

On this basis Prologis is expected to announce that it too will speculatively build out the last plot at its Prologis Park Pineham scheme. The site known as Zone C has planning for a 105,000 sq ft shed.

James Hill of Lambert Smith Hampton says: “Many of the enquiries for 100-200,000 sq ft sheds are driven by 3PLs, retailers and parcel companies looking to fulfil customer expectations for shorter lead in times for deliveries. These smaller, slightly specialised units allow them to react quickly in a more localised manner.”

For those not able to or unwilling to wait for speculative development there are a number of second hand buildings immediately available. “However,” says Willmer, “opportunity-wise these are reducing and continue to reduce”.

Second hand properties include Aviva’s Black Swan, the ex-Blacks Leisure building at Swan Valley which is being marketed by Jones Lang LaSalle, CBRE and North Rae Sanders. The buildings total 189,663 sq ft. There is the former Ryder Trucks unit at Brackmills totalling 104,573 sq ft boasting 10.7m eaves.

Also at Brackmills there is the former Debenhams building, known as Mercury 111, which is being marketed by CBRE, Burbage Realty and Moriarty & Co. The cross dock distribution warehouse totals 111,485 sq ft and has 9m eaves, 12 dock and five level access doors.

For those looking for larger units there are a couple of monsters in the area. The biggest of them all is Moorfield and SEGRO’s LPP Corby. The 525,000 sq ft cross-docked warehouse has a 15m eaves height as well as 50 dock and four level access doors. It has capacity to store 77,000 pallets. Letting agents are Burbage Realty, CBRE and GVA.

Ken Butcher of SEGRO is aware that for buildings this big, retailers and other potential occupiers will also short list development sites. However, he says SEGRO is looking to be flexible and open. “We are marketing the building on a phased occupation basis. If an occupier recognises a need for a 500,000 sq ft building but can only use say 250 – 300,000 sq ft on day one that can be accommodated as long as the occupier will commit to taking the whole building by year five.”

The other whopper is the 511,000 sq ft warehouse at Max Park, Corby which is being vacated by Wincanton. It will be available on a sub-lease or assignment through Savills and Cushman & Wakefield.

While immediately available buildings are in short supply Andrew Jackson of North Rae Sanders points out: “There are a number of sites in Northampton suitable for build-to-suit, not all are oven ready but developers are definitely more proactive about progressing.”

Infrastructure

Roxhill, having recently secured a deal to build a 130,000 sq ft warehouse for Dr Martens Airwair, as well as completing a 43,000 sq ft warehouse with Geopost at Warth Park, is putting in infrastructure for the rest of the 80 acre site that forms Phase II of the established Warth Park scheme. Letting agents are CBRE, North Rae Sanders and Lambert Smith Hampton. Phase II has planning for three further building up to 400,000 sq ft.

Meanwhile Prologis is moving forwards with its £150m  logistics park at Appleby Lodge in Wellingborough to be known as Apex Park. It has secured planning for up to 2m  sq ft of space which will be developed on a phased basis. James Wright, vice president at Prologis, says: “We are progressing the technical work so that we can deliver the site to meet customer requirements and we will start marketing the first phase of the development soon.”

There are other schemes ready for development including Roxhill’s CIRFT in Corby (formerly known as COR!) where there is permission for an 880,000 sq ft rail connected warehouse. It has other sites in Northampton that include the remaining land at Brackmills which could accommodate up to 600,000 sq ft.

Prologis has land at Daventry Phase III which could take up to 730,000 sq ft in three buildings as well as a plot at Zone 2 on Phase II at DIRFT which could take a single building of 400,000 sq ft. The final phase at DIRFT could take a further 6m sq ft but still has a long way to go before it is brought forward.

The developer still has its Eurohub Main site in Corby which could accommodate 2.5m sq ft. Evander has its 18 acre Grange Park scheme in Northampton at Junction 15 of the M1 motorway. The site could accommodate up to 360,000 sq ft. Letting agents are Dowley Turner and Budworth Hardcastle.