A question of space

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With so much demand where will it all go?

While there is more demand than ever for warehouse space in the region it is unlikely to be satisfied by standing stock. According to DTZ’s latest Property Times: “London, South east and East alone has over 1 million sq ft of serious and active requirements from retailers such as B&Q, John Lewis and Poundland.”

However, Lambert Smith Hampton’s National Industrial & Distribution report says: “The main focus of the shortages of grade A stock in the UK is in the Southern regions, with Greater London, South East and Eastern regions all having less than six months’ supply.

Andrew Jackson of North Rae Sanders notes: “The truth is, like many regions, space along the major trunk routes is hard to come by unless occupiers are happy to secure build-to-suit.”

Milton Keynes is one of the areas of focus for many enquiries along the M1 Corridor with John Lewis, DIY group Wolseley, and food manufactures and distribution companies such as Brioche Pasquier all looking to secure space. However with only one new building on offer, Volume Developments and PPG Southern’s Paragon:MK, occupiers will need to look at Gazeley’s Magna Park Milton Keynes to satisfy their needs – or another location.

Paragon:MK totals some 139,000 sq ft on a 6.9 acre site and boasts 12m minimum internal clear height, 10 dock-level doors and two surface-level doors. It is being marketed by Douglas Duff and Wright & Partners.

Gazeley’s Magna Park Milton Keynes has secured a lot of attention and recently saw the pre-sale of a 265,000 sq ft warehouse and production facility for drinks manufacturer AG Barr, advised by Gerald Eve.

The scheme covers 210 acres, with planning consent for 4.4 million sq ft. Current occupiers include John Lewis and River Island. Letting agents are Savills Burbage Realty and Jones Lang LaSalle.

Close by there is another build-to-suit opportunity at ProLogis Park Marston Gate where the developer has planning for a 426,470 sq ft facility with 12m eaves built to a BREEAM Very Good standard. Letting agents are Burbage Realty and Lambert Smith Hampton.

ProLogis has also acquired Gazeley’s former G.Park Dunstable site. The 32 acre site at Boscombe Road, Dunstable was owned by ICP Asset Management. Gazeley announced it would no longer be involved in G.Park Dunstable in September 2012. It had fulfilled a development management role for site owner ICP.

The site had planning for a 755,000 sq ft unit. However, in line with market demand on the southern M1 corridor, ProLogis has submitted a new planning application to Bedfordshire Council for two distribution units of 300,000 sq ft and 360,000 sq ft respectively. Both buildings, which may be built speculatively, have been designed to achieve BREEAM 2011 “very good” accreditation and the best EPC rating possible for their size.

Deliverable site

Andrew Griffiths of ProLogis says: “There is a shortage of new facilities in this size range in the South East market and we are pleased to have secured a deliverable site on the M1 corridor, which we anticipate will be of great interest to our customer base. We will make a decision on speculative development once the revised planning application has been approved. Our decision will also be subject to on-going pre-let discussions.”

Letting agents on the scheme are Colliers and Savills

The developer has one other building in the locality, the 160,000 sq ft DC160 at ProLogis Park Hemel Hempstead on the Maylands Estate. The property is being marketed by Knight Frank and Lambert Smith Hampton at a rent of £7.50 per sq ft.

Knight Frank is also marketing the former ASOS facility in Hemel Hempstead known as Dot.com 160, a 160,000 sq ft warehouse with 230,000 sq ft of mezzanine space.
Looking along the A1 corridor the opportunities are slim. In Peterborough one of the most forward development sites is Roxhill’s Peterborough Gateway.

The developer is spending some £25 million on securing infrastructure on the 240 acre site just off the A1(M) at Junction 17. Charles Blake of Roxhill Developments says: “The reason why Roxhill is so committed to Peterborough is that we’re impressed with its ambition to grow as a city.”

The company has already sold a plot to Yearsley, which has set out plans to build a 385,000 sq ft cold store as part of its national expansion programme. Yearsley hopes that the site will be operational by the end of 2013. The clad-rack cold store will consist of two buildings and in total provide 385,000 sq ft of space, including 10,000 sq ft of office space. The highest parts of the buildings will be 35 metres with other parts of the facility at 23 metres.

Detailed planning permission at Peterborough Gateway has been obtained for a first phase of 1.8 million sq ft of B1, B2 and B8 uses with no operational restrictions. Buildings on offer will range from 95,000 sq ft to a massive 1.3 million sq ft. Joint letting agents are North Rae Sanders, Bidwells and Burbage Realty.

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