Road of renaissance

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The A1, the Great North Road, has undergone a bit of a renaissance along with its upgrading in recent years. Long gone are the myriad of roundabouts, causing untold damage to the braking systems of innumerable cars and lorries. Now you can slickly speed up and down with ne’er a traffic jam except when the Burghley Horse trials are on. Large parts are now triple, nay even quadruple, laned and plans are still afoot, and indeed work is being carried out, to see the whole length from Newcastle to London brought up to standard – and about time too.

With the upgrade has come development, especially along its northern sector from Peterborough, Grantham, Newark, Doncaster and beyond.

Roger Haworth of M3 says: “The last three years has seen increased development along the A1 corridor with the readiness of developers to look at alternatives to the M1, which is suffering from a lack of site supply.”

Luckily occupiers are keen on the Great North Road too. Helen Longstaffe of DTZ Debenham Tie Leung says: “We are finding that more occupiers are willing to consider the A1 Corridor as a location and it is appearing on more agent circulations as a preferred location.”

Indeed Siemens’ search was A1 based. It has now taken a site in Lincoln. Wm Sinclair Holdings also wants to be located on the A1 corridor. DHL snapped up RREEF’s 305,000 sq ft warehouse in Harworth, South Doncaster because of its excellent links with the Great North Road. The company agreed a ten year lease with a five year break clause at a rent of £4.30 per sq ft, a rent free period and capital contribution for fit out was also provided. Atisreal advised.

Obviously the links with the East coast ports have had strong influence on occupier thinking and it is notable that where there is a confluence of major roads linking these ports onto the Great North Road there are also a string of developments.

ProLogis has a good many such schemes in the East Midlands area where the A14 intersects both the A1 and M1 corridors.

In Peterborough, the developer has completed a 185,000 sq ft unit on Kingston Park at Hampton. Savills’ Paul Farrow, a joint agent with Burbage Realty, has high hopes. He says: “The scheme is situated just off the A1(M), and the area’s access to the east coast ports and the motorway system makes it an increasingly-popular location of occupiers.”

The unit boasts 12m eaves, 16 dock levellers, a level loading door, 44 lorry spaces and 124 car parking spaces. Construction of the new warehouse follows the completion of Phase 2 (DC1), a 545,000 sq ft distribution centre, which is now available for occupation.

A little further north, at Grantham, plans are in for a £20m warehouse development at Vantage Park, Gonerby Moor.

Norwich-based Steeple Court submitted the application to South Kesteven District Council for the first phase of the new development, which will include a 100,000 sq ft warehouse.

Nick Dawes of Brown & Co says: “There has been very little industrial new build in Grantham and the surrounding areas for sometime.”

The most recent letting was at TDG’s former warehouse known as Grantham 334. It has been let to Random House subsidiary Grantham Books on a 15-year lease at about £3 per sq ft. Letting agents were M3. King Sturge and Fisher Hargreaves Proctor. That leaves one other building in the area – Corus’ 157,000 sq ft warehouse, which is also believed to be under offer.

Up in Newark Gazeley is bringing forward its 39-acre G.Park Newark development, where it has planning permission for 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.

Further north again and there is the Arrow building, forward sold to AXA REIM and built by Gazeley. The 330,000 sq ft high bay distribution facility boasts four level access doors, 32 dock level doors, 220 car parking spaces, 91 HGV or trailer parking spaces, 15,600 sq ft of offices on two floors, 312,000 sq ft of warehousing, security fencing and a 300 sq ft gatehouse. Letting agents are Colliers CRE and Knight Frank.

Haworth reports that following the DHL letting at Doncaster South owner Richard Walker has good interest in a further development on the site which totals 70 acres.

“A cross dock shed of up to 700,000 sq ft could be accommodated there,” he says, “but it’s early days yet.”

Nick Baker of Atisreal says there is a lot of space in South Yorkshire but adds: “The occupier requirements for this area are strong too.”

One would hope so with Axa Real Estate IM launching the second phase of its 200-acre Redhouse Interchange development. The 264,000 sq ft facility known as Hurricane will have 21 dock level and four ground level loading doors, 36 HGV parking spaces as well as a two storey office available within the building. Joint agents are Knight Frank and Gent Visick.

In addition, Paul Mack of DTZ reports that VALAD Properties (formerly known as Scarborough Developments) has a final plot of up to 300,000 sq ft available in the same location through joint agents DTZ and Gent Visick.

Mack is also marketing Rockpoint and Evander properties’ Sherburn Distribution Park where there are five buildings available from 92,000 – 666,000 sq ft.

“The key feature is that none of them have floors so it can be done bespoke to suit the loading capacity. In addition is he huge amount of power available – some 14mva,” he says. Letting agents are DTZ, M3 and CB Richard Ellis.

There is then a great big gap until Darlington where there are a number of developments and proposals. HelioSlough has its Wynyard 360 scheme built. The 302,027 sq ft building has 12.2m eaves, a 50kn/sqm FM2 floor as well as two-storey offices. It has 27 dock and four level access doors and parking for 48 lorries. The warehouse can accommodate upwards of 50,000 pallets on a VNA basis. Joint letting agents are King Sturge, Knight Frank and M3. As soon as this building is away, the developer intends to push on with a further 400,000 sq ft on the remaining 22 acres.


HelioSlough also has plans for a 1.3 million sq ft scheme on a 120-acre site at Wynyard Park. Buildings up to 700,000 sq ft will be able to be accommodated at the scheme.

Then there are Merchant Place’s plans for 1.4 million sq ft of distribution space at its Amazon Park scheme at Newton Aycliffe. The 100-acre site at Heighington Lane will have units ranging from 60,000 sq ft to 1,000,000 sq ft built using the very latest in environmentally sustainable building methods and energy management systems. Cushman & Wakefield is advising.

This is not to say that there is no development on the M1 Corridor, there is – and plenty of it. At Junction 24 there is Wilson Bowden’s East Midlands Distribution Centre being marketed by Fisher Hargreaves Proctor and Savills. It is one of the few sites that can offer individual buildings of up to 1.25 million sq ft. The developer also has a 112-acre scheme known as Castlewood just off Junction 28, which could accommodate buildings of up to 750,000 sq ft.

At Junction 26, there is Standard Life’s Langley 255 building being marketed by M3. Then there is also Henry Boot’s 200-acre Markham Vale scheme in North Derbyshire just off Junction 29a of the M1 Motorway. 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.

Gazeley’s Blade building in Sheffield is also long on eco initiatives. The building totals 415,000 sq ft and is available through joint agents Atisreal and Knight Frank at 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.

Mountcity Developments has its Nexus 36 scheme at Junction 36. The speculatively built warehouse totals 205,000 sq ft, has 14m eaves and is also available freehold through DTZ and Lane Walker.

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