Distribution is still the most active sector in the Midlands

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Property company Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) says that distribution “still remains the most active sector” in the Rugby and Lutterworth commercial property market and will develop further in the future. The company says that this is marked by plans to develop access between the M1 and M6 motorways around J19 which will improve the links on both the northbound and southbound carriageways.

The relocation of book wholesaler Pearsons, from Magna Park to ProLogis’ 39,060sq m facility on Central Park, has been the largest transaction. The innovative deal entailed Pearsons using its existing space on Gazeley’s Magna Park in part exchange. As far as Central Park is concerned, LSH says good levels of interest are reported for the remaining land at the park, which is being jointly developed by Wilson Bowden and Grosvenor.

However, LSH says speculative construction is “running a little dry” as most requirements are for large sheds and there is a tendency for design and build to ensure the correct specification. One of the few speculative schemes in the pipeline is the 20,460sq m ProLogis project on Central Park.

On the theory that planning authorities are still discouraging distribution occupiers in favour of the manufacturing sector, LSH’s William Nell comments: “Although speculative schemes may find the system tough, those with pre-let schemes find the planners more willing to give approval. Wilson Bowden is one such developer with 120 acres of land zoned for mixed use and is seeking to develop on a design and build basis.”

LSH says that at the M1’s J20 supply within the old town of Lutterworth “is beginning to run dry” and, as a result, poor quality stock is exchanging hands at healthy prices. The io Group sold a 1,767sq m 1970s building for £36.80 per sq ft.

Also, strong demand for freehold properties has seen the sale of two further small warehouse units which “has exhausted the current stock” of second-hand freehold units in the town.

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