There is a North/South divide when in comes to the availability of logistics property in this country and never more clearly drawn than when sourcing stock along both the A1 and M1 motorway corridors.
At the southern end, says Steve Williams of Atisreal: “There’s a shortage of large-scale sites everywhere. Towns like Hatfield, Enfield and Welwyn Garden City with developments like Hatfield Business Park are almost all full.”
However, there are more opportunities further north. Wilson Bowden’s East Midlands Distribution Centre being marketed by Fisher Hargreaves Proctor and Savills. John Proctor of Fisher Hargreaves Proctor says: “Junction 24 is now possibly the most strategic distribution location within the East Midlands area being one of a few sites that can offer individual buildings of up to 1.25 million sq ft.”
Wilson Bowden is also developing Buildings 6D and E totalling 92,000 sq ft which can be sub divided and has planning permission for a 270,000 sq ft unit, which it intends to speculatively develop.
Proctor says: “The lack of available land within Nottingham has also meant that the location has been attractive to companies relocating from Nottingham and this trend is only likely to continue once the A453 upgrade finally takes place.”
This train of thought played a strong part in the £15m acquisition of a 305,000 sq ft speculative warehouse by investor REEF. Edward Hine of Fisher Hargreaves Proctor, says: “This is the largest warehouse that has ever been speculatively developed in Nottinghamshire. It is seeking to take advantage of the burgeoning market for high bay warehousing along the A1, M18 and M180 corridors. This has been prompted in the main by excellent access to the Humber ports and also the availability of large sites for development, labour and the ability to provide a lower cost base for operators.”
Over on the A1, Gazeley is also bringing forward its 39-acre G.Park Newark development, where it has planning permission a total of 768,000 sq ft of new warehouse accommodation delivered either as a single bulk facility or arranged as two separate units of 515,000 sq ft and 275,000 sq ft.
A separate planning application on the site is for a dedicated cross-dock unit, which would total 470,000 sq ft – suitable for more than one occupier – plus a 200,000 sq ft warehouse. Joint letting agents Jones Lang LaSalle and Colliers CRE are currently seeking pre-let agreements at a quoting rent of £4.25 per sq ft.
A little further up and Gazeley has its G.Park Worksop site, which it has forward sold to AXA REIM for a price close to £18m. Gazeley will now develop the 330,000 sq ft high bay distribution facility with a completion scheduled for this summer.
Colliers CRE and Knight Frank represented Gazeley, while GVA Grimley and Egan Lawson advised AXA REIM in the purchase.
From here on in there is an abundance of sites and schemes and at one stage Rob Oliver of GVA Grimley thought there might be “a bit of an oversupply of vacant stock”.
However there has recently been a series of deals that can only bolster developer confidence anew. These deals include MFI taking the 750,000 sq ft cross dock warehouse known as Nimbus, Tesco firming up its 850,000 sq ft depot in Goole, Exel securing the 305,000 sq ft J34 development at Doncaster South and Kingspan paying £15m for the 390,000 sq ft former Eurospace furniture warehouse.
With these deals so much in evidence, hope springs eternal and several schemes are being pushed forward.
Sladen Estates in a joint venture with Peveril Securities is developing Denby Hall Business Park at the former Denby Hall Colliery site. It totals 27 acres. There are plans to develop some 472,000 sq ft in three warehouses of 30,000 sq ft, 80,500 sq ft and 120,000 sq ft and a regional distribution centre of 242,213 sq ft.
In addition there is Henry Boot’s 200-acre Markham Vale scheme in North Derbyshire just off junction 29a of the M1.
Planning has been granted for an initial 37 acres of development, split over four areas of the site, that includes a 577,500 sq ft warehouse dubbed the Green Giant as it has a number of eco-initiatives including a wind turbine and solar generated energy.
A planning application has also been submitted for the development of a 105,000 sq ft unit adjacent to The Green Giant. Henry Boot Developments’ Vivienne Clements says: “Since we announced our decision to develop a unit of this scale so close to the M1 in the heart of the UK, we have had interest from several interested national companies.” Letting agent is King Sturge.
A little further north there is the 70 acre Orgreave site owned by UK Coal which has outline planning consent then there is HelioSlough’s SIRFT scheme which has two units under construction of 290,000 sq ft and 330,000 sq ft. Letting agents are King Sturge, M3 and GVA Grimley.
Paul Londra of Dohertybaines says: “There has been quite a lot of development in past 18 months and will be in the future. Recently Gazeley has completed Blade a 412,519 sq ft warehouse in joint venture with Hermes – they’ve said that it would suit a single user. This is a large prominent building for Gazeley and it emphasises that developers are confident that this is a good distribution location.”
Letting agents Atisreal and Knight Frank are quoting rents from £4.75 per sq ft.
Also in the area, St Pauls’ Developments has started construction on Smithy Wood, which could provide up to 800,000 sq ft of space with unit sizes available up to 350,000 sq ft.
Steve Tonkin of CBRE says: “ProLogis has speculatively built a 530,000 sq ft national/regional distribution centre on 36 acres in the Dearne Valley acquired from UK Coal. It is available to let at a highly competitive rental of £3.95 per sq ft.”
It is known as ProLogis Barnsley Crossflow 530 and is one of the only cross-docked facilities available in the area.
For those looking for ready to go buildings, dohertybaines and Colliers CRE are marketing the 96,369 sq ft former Mastercare unit at Shepcote Business Park the unit has scope for a 21 per cent expansion. The passing rent is £4 per sq ft.
Mountcity is speculatively developing a 205,000 sq ft warehouse at Ashroyds Business Park at junction 36 of the M1. Mike Bough of DTZ Debenham Tie Leung said: “On completion it will represent the only new large scale distribution warehouse on the M1 corridor between Sheffield and Leeds.”
The unit will be available to let and consideration will also be given to a freehold sale. Letting agents are DTZ Debenham Tie Leung.
Back over towards Doncaster there are a host of developments not least Standard Life and Catesby Property Group’s 930,000 sq ft Firstpoint scheme. The first 415,000 sq ft unit, known as Vulcan, completes in March. Planning consent has also recently been granted for two further substantial units, known as Victor and Valiant, consisting of 246,000 sq ft and 276,000 sq ft, which are now under construction and will complete in the summer. Letting agents GVA Grimley and M3 are quoting £4.75 per sq ft.
Then, of course, there is Gladman’s 1.6 million sq ft Cosmic Park in Sherburn-in-Elmet the UK’s largest speculative industrial development; the company has a 25-acre site at Tankersley, less than half a mile from Junction 36 of the M1 for a speculative 410,000 sq ft industrial and distribution development near Barnsley in South Yorkshire.