Panning for gold in the golden triangle

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There is a lot of space in Northampton but is it all that is seems?

There is around 3 million sq ft of available space in warehouses of 100,000 sq ft plus in Northampton, according to James Hill of Lambert Smith Hampton. And there is an available land supply for warehouse development in the order of 950 acres with a further 750 acres awaiting consent or being promoted through the planning system.

It all looks spectacularly good for occupiers but that would be misleading. Andrew Jackson of North Rae Sanders notes: “If you are an occupier looking along the M1 corridor there is very little to choose from and indeed there is very little space left in big modern buildings.”

Much of the space in the market is second-hand. That is not to say that it is not quality space – much of it is, however there is an awful lot that is just a bit tired.

Luckily second-hand space is where occupiers can garner good terms and more importantly shorter leases. Simon Norton of Colliers says that rents for secondary properties (i.e. those built during the early 1990s), have not seen increases unlike prime stock where rents have increased 25p per sq ft in the past year.

There seems to be a plethora of properties between the 100,000 sq ft – 200,000 sq ft mark. These include the ex-Blacks Leisure building at Swan Valley which is being marketed by Jones Lang LaSalle, CBRE and North Rae Sanders. The building totals 189,663 sq ft.

Other well kitted-out second hand buildings include the former Ryder Trucks unit at Brackmills totalling 104,573 sq ft with six dock and two level access doors on a 6.87 acre site. Letting agents are North Rae Sanders and Altus Edwin Hill.

Also at Brackmills there is the former Debenhams building which is being marketed by CBRE, Burbage Realty and Moriarty & Co. The property is located on Mercury Drive approximately 2.5 miles from junction 15 of the M1 motorway. The fully fitted cross dock distribution warehouse totals 111,485 sq ft and has 9m eaves, 12 dock and five level access doors as well as a two storey mezzanine floor. 

There is also Goodman’s 275,867 sq ft Unit B warehouse at Royal Oak in Daventry being marketed by North Rae Sanders and Colliers. It is being marketed at a rent of £4 per sq ft.

For those looking for larger units there are a couple of monsters in the area. The biggest of them all is Moorfield and SEGRO’s LPP Corby (formerly known as Crackerjack). The 525,000 sq ft cross-docked warehouse has a 15m eaves height as well as 50 dock and four level access doors. It has capacity for 77,000 pallets. Agents are Burbage Realty, CBRE and GVA.

The other whopper is the 511,000 sq ft warehouse at Max Park, Corby which is being vacated by Wincanton. It will be available on a sublease or assignment through Savills and Cushman & Wakefield.

Occupiers will have to move quickly as there are a number of deals in the offing and space is trading relatively quickly. John Lewis is rumoured to have snapped up a 212,000 sq ft warehouse in Max Park Corby as a stop gap while it continues its search for a larger facility while Great Bear snapped up ProLogis’ 153,000 sq ft warehouse at ProLogis Park Kettering.

For those who can afford to wait there are a number of opportunities for build-to-suit in the region. Indeed some larger retailers have already gone down this route with Sainsbury’s finally sealing an agreement to take a 1 million sq ft rail connected warehouse at ProLogis’ Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal (DIRFT II). A new intermodal terminal, which will connect to the existing DIRFT railway sidings, will be installed alongside the building.

Planning consent

ProLogis expects to start work on site in early 2013 and the facility will be complete in autumn 2014. Cushman & Wakefield acted for Sainsbury’s, while Jones Lang LaSalle and Burbage Realty represented ProLogis. Schemes in the county include Gazeley’s 95 acre G.Park Crick scheme, where it has planning consent for a single unit of 1.1 million sq ft. G.Park Crick is located just off junction 18 of the M1 motorway. Letting agents are Dowley Turner Real Estate and CBRE.

While Roxhill has sites at Warth Park, Raunds where it has outline planning for two to three buildings up to 350,000 sq ft. Letting agents are CBRE, NRS and Lambert Smith Hampton. Then there is CIRFT in Corby (formerly known as COR!) where there is permission for an 880,000 sq ft rail connected warehouse.

ProLogis has land at Daventry Phase III which could take up to 730,000 sq ft in three building as well as a plot at Zone 2 on Phase II at DIRFT which could take a single building of 400,000 sq ft. The final phase at DIRFT could take a further 6 million sq ft but still has a long way to go before it is brought forward.

The developer still has its Eurohub Main site in Corby which could accommodate 2.5 million sq ft.

Evander has secured an 18 acre site known as Grange Park in Northampton from Shepherd Developments at Junction 15 of the M1 motorway which it will bring forward in conjunction with BA Pension Fund. The site could accommodate up to 360,000 sq ft. Letting agents are Dowley Turner Real Estate and Butler Hardcastle.

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