With almost all the legacy warehouse space now spent could the region be heading for a speculative renaissance? Liza Helps reports.
Just a few years ago the North and North East region was home to some 30 per cent of all available Grade A stock now there are just three buildings left following a spate of deals in the last six months which has seen more than a million sq ft snapped up in the region.
Letting agents GVA and Knight Frank have let AXA REIM’s 330,418 sq ft Arrow building to a food manufacturer after standing empty for more than six years, while Victoria Plumb has taken Standard Life’s 277,000 sq ft V277 warehouse in Doncaster.
Glasgow-based Malcolm Group took Wilton Developments’ 135,000 sq ft Latitude 135 building near Wakefield, West Yorkshire on a 10 year lease at a rent of £4.55 per sq ft. CBRE acted for Wilton Developments alongside Carter Towler and LSH and Pollock Property Advisors represented Malcolm Group.
Anglesea Capital’s 263,886 sq ft DrumOne at Drum Park in Chester-Le-Street, County Durham was let to packaging company Coveris Rigid.
Drum One was the largest speculative industrial building ever to be constructed in the North East region. It has 15m eaves as well as 28 dock and two level access doors, a 900kVA power supply and a floor loading of 65kN/sqm. Letting agents were HTA, DTZ and GVA.
Of the Grade A buildings still available there is the Strata warehouse at Thorne on Capitol Park, which was recently sold to Cordea Savills by M&G. The 137,478 sq ft facility has 12m eaves, 12 dock and two level access doors as well as a 50kN/sqm floor loading. It is being marketed by CBRE and Gent Visick.
Then there is Sherburn 550 at Anglesea Capital’s 1.4 million sq ft Sherburn Distribution Park near Leeds. Here two units, Sherburn 190 and Sherburn 330, have been effectively put together to create one of the last mega sheds available in the UK. The combined Sherburn 550, totals 535,732 sq ft of warehouse space with 57 dock and four level access doors as well as a 14,604 sq ft office. Joint letting agents are CPP, DTZ and Moriarty & Co.
And finally there is V246 the one remaining building at Standard Life’s 930,000 sq ft First Point scheme in Doncaster. The 246,000 sq ft facility has 14m eaves as well as 20 dock and two level access doors with a 50kN/sqm floor loading. It has a 50m deep yard. Letting agents are GVA and Colliers. Rob Oliver of GVA says that even these buildings do not look to be around long such is the weight of demand; “Virtually all the big legacy buildings are let or about to be…”
Nick Atkinson of HTA agrees: “Drum was the last of the big sheds built before the crash, so from now on larger occupiers will have to commit to new buildings or rely on second hand stock coming available.”
So like the rest of the UK occupiers looking for immediate space may be in for a shock – there is very little.
Even second hand space is being snapped up. Two former Cumbrian Seafoods units at the Foxcover Distribution Park in Seaham have gone in the past six months. Foxcover 8, totalling 125,087 sq ft, was let to on line retailer Andrew James Worldwide, and Foxcover 9, totalling 132,510 sq ft, went to South Shields-based cosmetics wholesaler Kans and Kandy. HTA Real Estate acted jointly with GVA on the disposal of Unit 9 Foxcover Distribution Park. Frew Pain acted for Kans & Kandy.
Parcel company GeoPost grabbed at the chance of securing the 40,000 sq ft former City Link unit at Cathedral Park in Durham. Nissan parts supplier Calsonic Kansei swooped in to claim a 138,027 sq ft at Doxford Park in Sunderland.
Over in the Dearne Valley near Rotherham, home retailer The Range has taken 260,000 sq ft at Dearne Mills on a long lease to serve as a new northern home delivery operation. GVA advised.
Richard Harris of JLL says: “If you are an occupier looking for space there is very limited options and buildings are going fast. A building that was coming onto the market known as Wakefield 41 was under offer almost immediately.”
A second hand unit that is coming to the market in November therefore, could go under offer before its current tenant has left the building. CBRE and CPP are bringing Helical Bar’s 123,811 sq ft Aspect distribution facility at West Moor Park in Doncaster to the market. At present retailer Next is on occupation. The building has 10m eaves, eight dock and two level access doors. Mike Baugh of CBRE says: “The unit is one of only very few ready-to-occupy, quality facilities in the region and we anticipate keen interest from potential occupiers.”
Nicholas Prescott of Knight Frank notes: “Availability of units larger than 50,000 sq ft continues to diminish. Existing supply currently stands at 1.43 million sq ft, down 40 per cent on the same time last year.”
With a growing shortage of good quality space some developers and property investors have bought second hand stock and refurbished it in the expectation that it will re-let at a profit.
IDI Gazeley bought a vacant warehouse on Wakefield Europort in West Yorkshire. The former HI Group warehouse on Tuscany Way is known as G.Park Wakefield Europort, it is the largest logistics warehouse currently available on the Wakefield Europort site and sits immediately adjacent to the M62 Motorway – one mile from junction 31. The 281,976 sq ft unit boasts 11.03m eaves, a 45m yard, 18 dock levellers six level access and two finger bay loading points. The 12,425 sq ft three storey offices have air conditioning and have T5 lighting. It sits on a secure 14.06 acre plot with gatehouse. Letting agents are Moriarty & Co and Savills.
Edinburgh-based Property investment company Parabola also has a warehouse at Wakefield Europort known as Wakefield Eurohub which it acquired last year and refurbished.
The 190,000 sq ft cross-docked logistics warehouse boasts 12 dock and eight ground level loadings with an eaves height of 9.2m. It also has the benefit of two 45m deep yards. Letting agents Moriarty & Co and Knight Frank are quoting £4.75 per sq ft.
With the squeeze on availability and demand seemingly unstopping Dave Robinson of Savills notes: “Quoting rents seemed to have soared recently but we’re yet to see the proof that deals will support this increase. In theory its supply and demand so it should mean rents are driven upwards.
“There are examples of clients turning away poorer covenants or short-term leases and they are also being aggressive on the limited incentives they are prepared to offer.”
Harris agrees: “Most landlords are only accepting 10 year minimum terms.”
Mike Baugh of CBRE notes: “Most occupiers have been re-educated on rent and incentive levels because really the options open to occupier now are to look at one of remaining speculative units or opt for D&B as the only real option. With current land supply values and build costs deals do not stack up they way they once did and thus rent have to rise.
“Rents have been stagnating at £4.50 – £5 per sq ft but that is now moving on with speculatively built units of sub 100,000 sq ft experiencing rents level in region £5.75 to £6 per sq ft.”
Chris Donabie of DTZ notes: “Strong rent levels highlight the lack of availability on the market.”
And it is this coupled strong demand that has led to speculative development in the prime locations such as West Yorkshire. However, Oliver notes: “It is hard to see even with the weight of investment that there will be any speculative building over 200,000 sq ft.”
New speculative space include Yorvales, Kier property and Maple Grove Development’s Tri-Link140 on a six acre site in Normanton, Wakefield Europort. The 142,000 sq ft speculative unit is under construction and is expected to complete in October.
The two-storey, facility will comprise 135,000 sq ft of warehouse space and 7,000 sq ft of office accommodation. Matthew Cormack of Yorvale said: “We’ve owned the site since 2012 and feel it’s the right time to market this development speculatively. Most of the adjacent units have been let or sold in recent years, but little new space has been developed. There are a number of requirements where this unit would be suitable and we expect our agents to open lease negotiations once construction begins.”
Letting agents are Carter Towler, BNP Paribas Real Estate, and AWS.
Meanwhile Stoford and Mountpark have started construction a 133,000 sq ft speculative facility to be known as Mountpark Wakefield. It will have a 12m eaves height, 12 dock and two level access doors, a 50kn/sqm floor loading, and parking for 39 HGVs. Letting agents are DTRE, Moriarty & Co and JLL.
Verdion has set out plan to develop speculatively two logistics units at its £400 million iPort development near Doncaster. The Grade A warehouses of 200,000 sq ft and 120,000 sq ft will be specified to suit multiple user requirements with expansion potential to double both units’ initial floor area. The buildings are scheduled for completion in Q1 2016. John Clements of Verdion says: “Due to strong occupier demand and the ever decreasing supply of existing space, the time is right for us to build inventory stock.”
iPort is also in the frame for occupiers looking for larger units as one of a few handful of sites that can accommodate units over 500,000 sq ft. At this level occupiers are having to opt for D&B, however not all sites are as oven ready as others. Verdion is currently working on a £21 million additional infrastructure package on the site that includes main services and ground works for an initial 3 million sq ft.
The 337-acre site is capable providing up to 6 million sq ft of space and also benefits from a dedicated 35-acre rail terminal. Letting agents are Gent Visick , Cushman & Wakefield and CBRE. The link road – FARRRS (the Finningley and Rossington Regeneration Route Scheme) – which will connect iPort to junction 3 of the M18 very close to the A1 is on track to open in less than ten months – early 2016.
Steve Gill, managing director, of Doncaster Sheffield Airport said; “The FARRRS link road is the catalyst for huge levels of private sector investment in Doncaster in the shape of the £400 million iPort development and 1,200 new homes on the former Rossington Colliery site.”
Verdion is currently working on a £20 million additional infrastructure package on the site that includes main services and ground works for an initial 3 million sq ft of development. “We are putting in main access roads and levelling sites for development making everything ‘oven ready’ because that is what developers should be doing. All preliminary work has been done and we could knock this [ development] out in six months if necessary.”
The 337 acre site is capable providing up to 6 million sq ft of space and also benefits from a dedicated 35 acre rail terminal. Letting agents are Gent Visick, Cushman & Wakefield and CBRE.
Other new sites for development include Highbridge’s 82 acre Indigo Park near Gosforth Park, which could accommodate up to 1.3 million sq ft of manufacturing and distribution space. Knight Frank and Storeys Edward Simmonds are letting agents.
Back in Doncaster, there is Gazeley’s 115 acre G.Park Doncaster site which has planning for three units of 650,000 sq ft, 530,000 sq ft, and 280,000 sq ft. Letting agents are JLL and Knight Frank. There is also Robin Hood Airport totalling 64 acres that could accommodate buildings up to 300,000 sq ft. Letting agents are JLL, Lambert Smith Hampton and CBRE.
There is around 50 acres available at Sheffield Business Park Phase 2 which could take up to 900,000 sq ft of space, and there is also 120 acres at Muse Developments’ Logic Leeds scheme which is offering warehouses from 25,000 – 1 million sq ft. There is also Leeds Distribution Park on the east side of Leeds on the M1 owned by Tristan Capital which has outline planning for 1.2 million sq ft. Letting agents are CBRE and CPP.