Thursday 29th Sep 2016 - Logistics Manager

Massive spec shed scheme for Bristol

Construction work is due to start on a new 65-acre business park in north Bristol early in 2016 which could include up to 600,000 sq ft of speculative warehouse development.

Developers St Francis Group and Marcol Industrial have teamed up and acquired the former Rolls-Royce East Works site in Filton. At the same time they have announced a funding deal with BP Pension Fund that commits all parties to the development of nearly 600,000 sq ft of speculative warehouse and industrial space making this probably the largest speculative industrial scheme ever seen in Bristol.

To be known as Horizon38, the landmark site fronts onto the A38 in Filton near the former Filton airfield, Airbus and Rolls-Royce. The developers secured detailed planning consent last year for up to 1.2 million sq ft of commercial space. In addition to warehousing and industrial space, the £120m development will include a frontage of mixed-use with car dealerships, trade counters, self-storage and a major hotel.

Gareth Williams, development director at St Francis Group, says, “Horizon38 will be the first major employment scheme to come out of the ground in north Bristol for 20 years. Set on a 65-acre site, this is a hugely significant development. This scheme could not be better timed with occupiers struggling with little or no available stock in north Bristol. This is a very significant and important project for Bristol, South Gloucestershire and the wider region.”

Paul Baker of JLL who acted on behalf of BP Pension Fund adds, “The Fund recognised this as a rare opportunity to create the largest single multi-let estate on the northern fringe of Bristol with superb access to both the motorway network and the City of Bristol. With the supply of good quality space at a low, rents growing and occupiers signing longer leases it is the perfect time for speculative development.”

Paul Hobbs, industrial director at property adviser Bilfinger GVA in Bristol, who advised the developers on the site purchase, said: “North Bristol has seen some dramatic changes over recent years. The former Rolls-Royce East Works development site has lain dormant since the recession started in 2008 but the new owners are ready to bring forward this site.

“This is a major commercial development for the north fringe of Bristol which, as an employment area focussing on industrial and warehousing, will complement the residential (2,600 houses) and retail developments being planned on the opposite side of the A38 on the former Filton airfield.

Property consultant JLL advised BP on the funding agreement and will act jointly with Bilfinger GVA in connection with the industrial and warehousing elements. Gerald Eve acted on behalf of Rolls-Royce in the land sale.

Major groundworks will commence on site early 2016, with phased development leading to the delivery of the first completed buildings expected early in 2017.