Developers identify Central Europe as region of opportunity

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According to property agent Jones Lang LaSalle, Poland experienced a spectacular year in terms of the number and size of lease transactions in the industrial sector. ‘Apart from Warsaw; Silesia, Poznañ, Central Poland and Wrocaw remained the most popular locations in Poland in respect of leasing activity and those regions also have considerable development potential due to the current and proposed location of highways,’ says Beata Hryniewska, head of industrial & logistics at Jones Lang LaSalle.

Indeed developer Segro (formerly Slough Estates) has been particularly busy in the last year: at Stryków it has let a 3,250 sq m unit in Building 3, to German retailer Lidl, and has just pre-let a further 10,000 sq m unit.

Having opened an office in Silesia earlier this year a logistics pre-let has been signed for 16,000 sq m. In addition 18ha of land for industrial development has been acquired there, adding to the group’s already substantial holdings in Poland.

Based on these demands the company is speculatively developing two warehouse schemes, with 23,000 sq m in Poznan, and 27,000 sq m of warehousing space in Strykow. The first pre-lease has already been signed for the Poznan building with Masterlink taking 7,100 sq m.

Standard Life Investments, one of the largest property fund managers in Europe, has been particularly acquisitive in Poland. In a joint venture with Panattoni Development Company, Standard Life Investments’ Select Property Fund is increasing its exposure to the Polish market with the development of a 32,000 sq m majority pre-let logistics building in Poznan, Poland. Located approximately 15km south east of the city, the site forms an extension of the existing Panattoni Park.

James Rushworth, director of European property, Standard Life Investments, said: ‘Poznan reflects our favourable view of the Polish logistics sector, which is being driven by GDP growth, low costs and central location in Europe.’

In January SLI announced that it was entering into partnership with PDC to develop two distribution warehouses in Central Europe. The first, a 50,000 sq m distribution warehouse facility located in Lodz, Poland, is expected to be completed in September. The second is in Plzen, Czech Republic. Phase I of the development will consist of 28,000 sq m and is due for completion shortly. There is strong indicative interest for further capacity and an additional 33,000 sq m is planned.

In a statement at its Annual General Meeting developer ProLogis said: ‘In Central Europe, yields have been converging with western levels over the past few years while demand for industrial space remains robust.

‘The Czech Republic remains one of the most dynamic markets and demand in Poland increased significantly in 2006 as a result of the growing economy and an increased inflow of goods from west to east.

‘The Hungarian market is also becoming more stable. Demand for prime modern warehouse space is growing and we believe that Hungary has the potential to become a regional hub for south east Europe.’

DSV opts for Venlo

DSV Solutions has selected Macquarie Goodman European Logistics to develop a 49,000 sq m distribution centre in Venlo Trade Port North, part of a major logistics hub in Benelux. The distribution centre will include 37,000 sq m of warehouse space, an 8,000 sq m production area for Value Added Logistics, a 4,000 sq m mezzanine and over 1,000 sq m of office space. DSV said that it would service a number of contracts form the facility including several high-end electronics companies, a manufacturer of special furniture and a shoe company.

DSV is best known in the Netherlands for its acquisition of Dutch logistics service provider Frans Maas in 2006. The company has over 370 facilities in Europe, 31 of which are in the Netherlands employing approximately 2,000 people.

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