A tale of two motorways

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Despite their close proximity the two motorway markets could not be more different. Where there is a bountiful supply of available warehouse space along the M18 corridor the same cannot be said of that along the M62 corridor despite its greater length.

The reason is clear – there is not as much land available to develop along the M62, and what there has been has taken an inordinately long time to bring to the fore. It seems a shame then that after so much effort the launch of the 420-acre Kingsway site in Rochdale at Junction 21 of the M62 should occur just when the credit crunch starts to hit.

However, Rochdale Development Agency is taking a longer term view and says that Kingsway will employ a business community of 7,250 people in addition to 1,750 indirect jobs phased over the next ten to 15 years.

The Kingsway Partnership, made up of The North West Regional Development Agency and Wilson Bowden Developments with support from Rochdale Development Agency and Rochdale Council has just launched the first five industrial/warehouse units on Plot E at Kingsway. The scheme has planning from more than three million sq ft of industrial development.

For occupiers looking at the D&B route there are more opportunities. Steve Brittle of Atisreal says: “Peel Developments can facilitate occupiers requiring units from as small as 5,000 sq ft to as large as 400,000 sq ft at its Hareshill Business Park in Heywood just off Junction 19 on a freehold or leasehold basis.”

Looking further down the M62 towards Yorkshire there are several units immediately available, including Wilton Developments’ Latitude 135 building at Junction 31 which totals 135,000 sq ft. Letting agents are Lambert Smith Hampton and Carter & Co.

Also at Junction 31 is Link 62 where PPG Land has Unit 2000, which is part of the first speculative phase at the 108 acre Link62 development. The initial phase comprises two speculative built units. Building 2000 is a self-contained unit of 105,000 sq ft. It has an 10m eaves height, a 50kN/sqm floor loading, eight dock levellers and one level access door. Joint agents are Carter & Co and Strutt & Parker.

Axis 62, again at Junction 31, totals 200,000 sq ft and is available through letting agent King Sturge at a quoting rent of £4.75 per sq ft. Finally there is Evander Properties and Rockpoint’s Sherburn Distribution Park just eight miles to the north of Junction 32 at Pontefract. Paul Mack of DTZ is marketing the five buildings, which are available from 92,000 – 666,000 sq ft. Joint letting agents are M3 and CB Richard Ellis.

Although there are no units immediately available one cannot discuss the M62 corridor’s warehouse market without mentioning Sterling Capitol’s 310-acre Capitol Park scheme by Junction 36 where it has submitted plans for two buildings of 300,000 sq ft and 650,000 sq ft.

Simon Clarke, development director of Sterling Capitol, says: “The two distribution buildings, with a combined area of nearly one million square feet, will be some of the finest in the region and should create more than 1,000 quality and sustainable jobs.”

Occupiers looking along the M18 corridor have much more of a choice – almost too much. Owen Holder of Knight Frank says: “There is a current oversupply by as much as three years – around nine million sq ft. Over the last three years take up has been 7.5 million sq ft excluding units bought speculatively by investors/banks with vacant possession.”

But agents warn that occupiers still won’t be getting any discounted rents. Toby Vernon of M3 says: “There is still a lot of enquiries and as yet there have been no reductions in headline rents. In fact there is more pressure to maintain rents because yields have gone out and this also means that landlords and developers need to achieve longer leases. Leases of five years or less are no longer fundable in the current market.”

There is still hope, Mike Haigh of Dove Haigh Philips says “Grade A Covenants might still get a five year lease (though they will have to pay for it) but they are more likely to get a break clause and be penalised when they invoke it.”

Developments immediately available include Standard Life’s V3 scheme at First Point Business Park where there are three units Victor, Valiant and Vulcan totalling over 900,000 sq ft. Joint letting agents are M3 and GVA Grimley.

Ian McPhail of GVA Grimley also has Quattro a 164,000 sq ft unit at Junction 4.

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