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Small sheds are normally the order of the day in Scotland but with Amazon set to build a one million square foot hub in Dunfermline could things be about to change? Lucy Tesseras reports.

The new year got off to a good start in Scotland when online retail giant Amazon confirmed plans to build a one million square foot fulfilment centre at Calais Muir South in Dunfermline. The facility will be the company’s largest in the UK and will create more than 750 new jobs.

Deliveries for the UK, Europe and the rest of the world will be sorted at the distribution centre, which is situated alongside the M90 near the junction with the A92. It will also provide capacity for additional product lines to be added in the future.

The warehouse at Glenrothes which Amazon currently leases was purchased by Fife Council, while the retailer’s Gourock site will be unaffected and continue to operate as normal.

Allan Lyall, vice president of European operations at Amazon, says: “It has been Amazon’s priority to secure a new site as close to the current Glenrothes fulfilment centre as possible to preserve and transfer the entire skilled workforce with all its experience and Amazon knowledge…this centre will provide us with the capacity and flexibility that we require into the future.”

All permanent employees from Amazon’s 200,000 sq ft Glenrothes hub will move to the new site, plus a further 1,500 temporary jobs will be created during peak times.

Graftongate is on site now and is expected to complete the facility on 31st October 2011.

According to Colliers International’s latest research, overall take-up in Scotland during 2010 fell by ten per cent year-on-year to 6.5 million sq ft and of that only 1.2m sq ft was on properties over 100,000 sq ft, of which there is now just 14.5 million sq ft of available space left.

There is Evander Properties’ J4M8 380 and 240 buildings, both of which are still available or can be combined to provide a single unit of 655,000 sq ft.

Individually, both units offer 15m eaves height, two level access doors and 65kN/ sq m floor loading, while 380 has 36 dock levellers and 240 has 22. Colliers International and James Barr are agents.

Muse Developments completed the first major speculative development in Scotland for more than two years at the end of 2010 at Plot F of Eurocentral. Zenith is the larger of the new facilities at 92,000 sq ft, while Pinnacle offers 67,000 sq ft. Steve Turner of Muse says there are still a reasonable number of people interested in the properties but things have yet to move on. “At the end of last year there was a good list and there still is but companies are not ready to commit as they need to get contracts secured before they can confirm.”

Muse began work on two new properties on the remainder of Plot F at the end of last month. Vertex is the larger of the two units at 128,537 sq ft, while Apex will be 71,419 sq ft. Another development of smaller units on Plot B also kicked off at the end of March. The largest of the as yet unnamed buildings will be 16,942 sq ft, while the second building will be subdivided into two units of 6,889 sq ft and 4,639 sq ft.

Elsewhere, C&W Assets, a wholly owned subsidiary of J Smart & Co, just acquired a 4.3-acre site at Belgrave Street, Bellshill, from Chancerygate for the development of speculative and bespoke industrial units up to around 30,000 sq ft.

Despite the odd development going ahead here and there, most agree that speculative development on the whole will not be on the cards for most developers this year, but as the remaining new builds and good quality second-hand space gets taken up, there may be an increase in design & build activity.

Bryce Stewart of Colliers International says there are a few known D&B requirements but “timing to delivery is paramount”.

Colliers is marketing ProLogis’ M8 D&B site which has full planning for 471,000 sq ft where Stewart says there has been off and on interest, but it comes down to finding the right person at the right time. A typical specification would include eaves up to 15m, 50 kN/sq m floor loading, 50m minimum yard depth and generous dock level and level access door provision. The site is situated directly off Junction 6 of the M8 motorway and the Eurofreight Terminal is within two miles.

The 503,577 sq ft DC1 unit at ProLogis M8 has already been pre-let to The Co-operative. Joint letting agents are Colliers International and Cushman & Wakefield.
When the new facility is complete The Co-op will be vacating four properties of various sizes in Cumbernauld, Dunfermline, East Kilbride and Lanarkshire. Colliers is marketing the properties.

At Eurocentral, 10 Coddington Crescent has just come to market. The 82,509 sq ft building will be comprehensively refurbished after current occupier DHL vacates the premises in August. Iain Davidson of Colliers International, which is marketing the property alongside Ryden, says it is the only cross-docked facility currently on the market in the area. It has 36 dock doors and a minimum eaves height of six metres.

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