Southern comfort

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Despite rumours to the contrary there are some excellent opportunities along the southern halves of the A1 and M1 motorway corridors. Liza Helps investigates.

At the southern end of both A1 corridor and the M1 motorway corridor there is a distant lack of available units and to be honest there doesn’t seem that much available space elsewhere either with a plethora of deals going down in recent months and a distant lack of new builds coming to fruition.

Kevin Storey of Cushman & Wakefield agrees: “For those occupiers looking at the bigger end there is a distinct lack of supply and it is certainly more difficult if you are looking along the A1 corridor which could be considered the poor relation.”

On the deal front, one hot off the press is the letting of Frontier Lands and Palmer Capital Partners’ 318,526 sq ft Celestia warehouse at Snelshall West to food distributor and marketing company Jenks.

The building boasts 24 dock and two level access doors, a 12m eaves height as well as parking for 200 cars and 39 lorries, all on a 14-acre self-contained site.

There has also been the letting of Yorkstream Properties’ 105,000 sq ft MK1 warehouse on Denbigh Road, Bletchley, to Mercedes-Benz.

The recently refurbished building extends to just over 105,000 sq ft including 5,500 sq ft of office space. Mercedes-Benz is paying a rent equating to £4.50 per sq ft on the five-year lease and a rent-free period of four months has been agreed.

King Sturge and North Rae Sanders acted for Yorkstream and Mercedes-Benz was advised by Colliers CRE.

As buildings get snapped up left, right and centre, what of those available now? Well the good news is that the quality of the few buildings that are available is rather good; Paragon:MK is a case in point.

The 139,000 sq ft development in Bletchley has been built by Volume Developments UK and PPG Southern on a mature employment site opposite the new MK Dons football stadium, it provides substantial warehouse premises and offices for sale or to let through Douglas Duff and joint agents Wright & Partners.

Facilities include 12m eaves, ten dock-level and two surface-level doors, two-storey quality offices and ancillary areas and a large, secure yard with 142 car parking spaces and 26 HGV parking spaces.

Jonathan Whittle of Douglas Duff says: “In the current trend towards ‘green’ issues, Paragon:MK has been designed and constructed with the aim of achieving the highest levels of sustainability – indeed, it achieved an Energy Performance Asset Rating of B, the third highest energy efficiency level. It boasts natural lighting and integrated offices which means the wall surface extent – and hence heat loss – has been reduced.

By using biomass space heating and solar water heating to the offices, it has also been possible to exceed the target within Milton Keynes Policy D4 of ten per cent of the site energy use by renewable means. Water consumption is being reduced by 68 per cent by using low-flush toilets and harvesting rainwater for sanitary provision.

There is also Miller Development’s Alpha Park in St Neots. Alpha Plus totals 220,124 sq ft and is slap bang next door to the A1. It has 12m eaves with a 55m yard, 20 docks levellers and two level access doors and parking for 84 trucks and 120 cars in a self contained securely fenced 11-acre site. It is being marketed by M3, King Sturge and Barker Storey Matthews at a rent of less than £5 per sq ft.

Wrenbridge has two properties on the market: PE2 on Morely Way, Peterborough which totals 130,000 sq ft and its refurbished 201,106 sq ft unit E17 at Junction 17 of the A1.

PE2 has 12m eaves, ten dock and two level access doors and a 48m deep yard. It is available to let or for sale through joint agents Bidwells, King Sturge and Savills.

ProLogis also has space immediately available in Peterborough with its DC3 unit at ProLogis Kingston Park.

This is the developer’s third speculative warehouse at the park. The 185,000 sq ft unit, has a 12m eaves height, 16 dock levellers, a level loading door, 44 lorry spaces and 124 car parking spaces.

Paul Farrow of Savills says: “This new unit will appeal to a wide range of regional and national logistics companies, because it’s very well located, close to Peterborough Ring Road, near Junction 3A, giving easy access all the way to the A1(M) at Junction 17. In addition, the area’s access to the east coast ports and the motorway system makes it an increasingly-popular location for occupiers.”

Joint letting agents are Savills and Burbage Realty.

For occupiers wanting more bespoke units there is still Gazeley’s Magna Park Milton Keynes development where Nigel Godfrey says there are a number of enquiries. It has recently sold 23.5 acres to retailer River Island to build a 466,000 sq ft distribution facility in two units.

Commenting on the deal Godfrey says: “The development of two buildings is a way of giving more flexibility to the occupier and certain operators have concerns over fire issues so the development of two buildings is a way of mitigating risk.”


With a certain amount of uneasiness in the economy this is regarded as a wise move not least on the funding side.

There is a further 100 acres available which could accommodate up to one million sq ft in a single unit.

Joint agents are Savills, Jones Lang La Salle and Burbage Realty. Rents at Magna Park will depend on specification and fit out, but will be in the region of £6.50 per sq ft for the base building.

Gazeley also has planning for a scheme in Biggleswade totalling some 500,000 sq ft as well as plans afoot for a 675,000 sq ft scheme in Dunstable. The developer is seeking pre-lets on the 40-acre site which currently is home to pallet maker Chep, Christian Salvesen and Renault.

The company also has a massive site in Peterborough at Park Farm, which could accommodate some four million sq ft of rail connected development to be known as Magna Park Peterborough.

Also in Peterborough, Simons Estates and Frenbury Properties are promoting Gateway Peterborough, a 119 acre site which could accommodate up to 1.3 million sq ft in units from 171,000 sq ft to 685,000 sq ft. Letting agents are Savills, North Rae Sanders and Bidwells. The development of two buildings is a way of giving more flexibility to the occupier and certain operators have concerns over fire issues so the development of two buildings is a way of mitigating risk.

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