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Recent months have seen an upsurge of speculative development in Scotland especially along the M8 Motorway corridor as developers cash in on pent up demand; good news for occupiers but as competition for sites hots up the owner-occupier could lose out.

The most up to date news sees ProLogis entering the fray. And, as if to make up for its tardiness, the developer has submitted outline plans for over 1 million sq ft of space on the Linkpark scheme, which is to be known as ProLogis Park M8.

ProLogis acquired the 57-acre site from Saltire Developments in October 2006. The site benefits from planning for 850,000 sq ft of warehousing space as well as for leisure uses. The recent application submitted to North Lanarkshire Council is to develop the whole site for distribution warehousing purposes. ProLogis intends to speculatively develop the site in the near future. Colliers CRE and Cushman & Wakefield are joint letting agents.

Gladman is the first developer to get seriously stuck in and reports work is well underway on Scotland’s largest speculatively built warehouse scheme. The developer is building the first 380,000 sq ft phase of MAX, a 650,000 sq ft speculative industrial and distribution development on a 33.5-acre site at J4 M8 distribution park in the Central Belt located adjacent to junction 4 of the M8 motorway.

The new warehouse complex will have end development value of £35m and could provide up to 700 new jobs. It is available both freehold and leasehold with a quoting rent of £4.75 per sq ft through joint agents Jones Lang LaSalle and James Barr.

This is a joint development with Nottinghamshire-based property company Strawsons, and the new unit will have 15m eaves, 65 dock levellers and level entry doors and bespoke floors constructed to occupiers’ requirements up to 65kN/sq m. The unit could be enlarged to provide 650,000 sq ft of space. It is expected to be ready for occupier fit out in the summer.

On completion of the MAX there will remain approximately 50 acres of land for further storage and distribution use development at J4M8.

Other speculative development includes warehouses at Eurocentral. Pharos totals 40,200 sq ft and Atlas 56,200 sq ft. In addition there is Titan which when completed will total 122,200 sq ft.

Pharos boasts a floor loading of 50kN/sq m as well as four ground level access doors, an eaves height of 8m to underside of haunch and a 33m-yard. Atlas has similar features but claims a 10m eaves height. While Titan has 12m eaves, 12 dock leveller doors including two tailgate docks and a 48m deep yard.

Letting agents CBRE and Ryden are quoting £5.50 for Atlas and Pharos and quoting £5.25 for Titan, which will be ready for occupation in April. Eurocentral ABP is also looking for occupiers willing to take a 17-year lease on Artemis, which totals 71,700 sq ft with expansion capability to take the building up to 110,000 sq ft. The building has a floor loading of 50kN/sq as well as six dock levellers and one ground level access doors, an eaves height of 10m and a 48m-yard. Quoting rent is £5.25 per sq ft.

St Modwen, which purchased the 750,000 sq ft former Rolls Royce manufacturing facility in Hillinton to the west of Glasgow, is also speculatively developing space. The developer is to build speculatively four units totalling 80,000 sq ft on the site, which is known as Pegasus Business Park. There are a number of refurbished buildings available as well. This includes Block 2, which extends to 132,666 sq ft. It has 6.6m eaves and boasts a 47m-yard. Letting agent is Colliers CRE.

The fact that there is speculative development in Scotland has been fuelled by the number of pre-lets that have taken place. Rosemound secured the former NEC Semiconductor site in Livingston and almost immediately had it under offer to Tesco. For £75m 900,000 sq ft chilled, frozen and dry groceries distribution centre employing some 1400 people creating 200 new jobs.


Developer Rosemound is reportedly on the look out for another site of a similar size such is its belief in the strength of the market.

Indeed, Bryce Stewart of Colliers CRE says: “Demand levels and take-up rates are outstripping supply of quality industrial units.”

On this basis even smaller sites attract a good deal of interest. Recently, eight developers battled it out to secure an 18.45-acre site on Cliftonhall Road, Newbridge, West Edinburgh reflecting the scarcity of industrial development land in the area.

The winning bid came from Upland Developments, which has secured planning consent for a 267,000 sq ft scheme. It will speculatively develop a 60,000 sq ft first phase, which will be divisible into units from 5,000 sq ft upwards. It is also offering design and build packages for companies with larger requirements.

Neil McAllister of Ryden, which advised the sellers Alex Brewster & Sons, says: “The number of offers received is recognition by developers of the scarcity of good quality land available for industrial development in West Edinburgh.”

The original quoting price for the land was offers in excess of £150,000 per acre.

Dominic Quigley says: “There is no doubt that there is a very strong appetite for industrial land and land values in Scotland per se have increased.”

According to King Sturge’s Autumn 2006 Logistics Property Today Report: “Scotland has seen the largest increase in land values over the last year, rising from £200,000 to £300,000 per acre, representing an increase of 50 per cent.”

Not quite as bullish as King Sturge, Moray Stewart of GVA Grimley says: “Land values have certainly been on the rise. In 2001, the average industrial land value across Scotland was £195,000 per hectare and this rose continually for the next five years to £273,000 per hectare.”

Ross Sinclair of DTZ Debenham Tie Leung says there can only be one outcome of rising land prices and limited speculative development: “A forward movement in rental rates seems to be the only likely option.”

It must be noted that rent levels for prime industrial accommodation have been at about £5.50 per sq ft for some time. According to King Sturge, the headline rent close to Glasgow Airport is £6 per sq ft. Away from the airport prime rents in Glasgow are around £5.75 per sq ft. Meanwhile at South Gyle in Edinburgh £6.50 per sq ft is being achieved, with £64.60 per sq m for the rest of Edinburgh. Rates of around £6 per sq ft can be expected in Aberdeen.

Over the 12 months to June 2006, rental value growth for industrial property in Scotland was 2 per cent, while in the six months to June, rental values increased by 1.1 per cent.

This increase in rents has also increased the amount of speculative warehouses. “However,” says Bryce Stewart of Colliers CRE, “at present there are only three buildings in excess of 100,000 sq ft in the Central Belt although many other sites could provide this on a bespoke basis.”

These include: Eurocentral, Gartcosh Business Interchange, Glasgow Business Park, Gateway Glasgow, Clydesmill Cambuslang, Ravenscraig Motherwell, J4M8, Heartlands Whitburn, Edinburgh Gateway Newbridge Edinburgh and Airwest Edinburgh.

Eurocentral comprises a 650-acre site, being developed through a partnership between Amec, RBS, Scottish Enterprise Lanarkshire and Tritax. There are Golden contracts in place on a number of the sites, preserving 100 per cent capital allowances which result in the availability of extremely attractive incentives packages being offered to occupiers.

Eurocentral has already attracted occupiers including: Wincanton, Next, British Bakeries, TDG, Eddie Stobart, Target Worldwide Express, Morrisons, News International and Sheffield Insulations Group. The site has its own dedicated four-way junction on the M8 with planning consent for a £300m master plan for 1m sq ft of industrial and 500,000 sq ft of office space.

Ravenscraig, being developed by Wilson Bowden south of the M8 Motorway, forms a 1,125-acre site, formerly the Ravenscraig Steel Works. The site has been remediated in recent years with roads infrastructure put in place to facilitate future development. In terms of industrial development outline consent has been granted for use classes 4, 5 and 6 (which includes distribution warehousing) over 140 acres.


Heartlands where Colliers CRE is acting, is a major regeneration project between Ecosse Regeneration & RBS. It covers an area of 1,000 acres. While most of the development is residential, there will be a 200-acre site next to the M8 motorway, which has consent for up to 1.5 m sq ft of commercial, of this up to 500,000 sq ft will be industrial. The site will be opened up during 2007 with the development of a new interchange (J4a) to be created on the M8.

Gateway Edinburgh in Newbridge, extends to approximately 50 acres of which 30 acres is capable of development. This is a joint venture between Ediston and Arlington. Up to 300,000 sq ft of industrial can be developed.

Finally, Airwest is a proposed development by BAA Lynton on 19 acres of land adjacent to Edinburgh Airport. Planning consent has been granted for up to 270,000 sq ft of accommodation, however it must be air related. BAA Lynton recently offered the site for sale and six bids were received at closing date.

Looking to the future there could be many more sites to fulfil demand: Moray Stewart says: “Large logistics companies have traditionally located around the M74/M8 towards the east side of Glasgow and M8 Corridor between Glasgow and Edinburgh. However, the introduction of the M74 extension may open up locations in the south side of Glasgow, as logistics companies will no longer have to rely on the Kingston Bridge which has become a bottle neck for traffic acting as a deterrent for many occupiers.

“The extension to the M74 (due for completion in 2010) will also mean much easier access for logistics companies to the north of England from Glasgow south and west.”

Ross Sinclair of DTZ Debenham Tie Leung agrees: “The focus to date has been on the M8 corridor predominantly East of Glasgow in hotspots such as Bellshill, Newhouse, Eurocentral, Coatbridge, Hamilton etc due to road connections, and particularly proximity to the M6.

“However, the Drive Time Directives have affected the way in which occupiers think towards location and it may emerge that occupiers will look towards locations that fit in with the new regulations, namely a restriction in drive times to a four hour window with a subsequent driver break. In other words, it may be the locations will be selected to most efficiently manage these drive time restrictions and ultimately business profitability.

“The M74 extensions proposal which will link the existing section of M74 at Cambuslang with Glasgow City Centre at Kingston should bring about a change / shift in distribution / logistical locational activity in Glasgow due to improved connections and drive times.

Dominic Quigley is positive that this is the start of a whole new focus in Scotland and cites the recent NHS deal at Larkhall as evidence. NHS Scotland secured a 25-year lease with a 15 year break option on a 150,000 sq ft national distribution centre at Canderside Toll Larkhall at junction 8 of the M74 motorway. Quigley says: “The new drive time regulations will boost M74 routes in Scotland and this deal provides the proof.”

Other new hot spots in Scotland could include Grangemouth where Forth Ports is planning a new £40m distribution hub providing one million sq ft of new warehousing serving Scotland and the north of England.

The hub would see the development of warehouses from 50,000 sq ft up to potentially 500,000 sq ft, all with direct access to sea, road and rail. It is anticipated that the master plan for the new development will be completed by April while a second phase is also being considered that would add an additional 500,000 sq ft of warehousing. Charles Hammond of Forth Ports said: “The central location of the port makes it a logical location for a major distribution hub.

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