Online retailers snap up spec sheds in North West

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Online retailer occupiers have been snapping up speculative space in the North West as available supply dwindles according to the latest research by CBRE.

In the North West specifically, 73% of take-up comprised speculatively built units, of which the majority were let to online retailers.

Availability of logistics space in the region is now at a record low of around 900,000 ft2 – 26% of the 10-year average – while 1.77m ft2 is already being built speculatively to meet current and forecast high demand, CBRE warned.

Overall take-up of North West industrial property in the first three months of this year hit 1.1m ft2, the largest proportion of any UK region at 21.7% of the national total.

Paul Cook, senior director of CBRE’s Manchester industrial team said: “We have seen an increasing demand for both speculative and design-to-suit built units, and are working hard to increase the availability of such units to meet current and anticipated strong demand in future.”

Take-up is expected to continue increasingly over the rest of 2021, “with particular interest from the rapidly growing online retail sector,” Cook said. Online retailers accounted for almost 50% of the total UK take-up in Q1, across 10 deals, the report found.

Total take-up across the country in Q1 stood at 5.2m, according to consultancy CBRE’s latest quarterly logistics market summary.

In one of the largest deals so far in the North West Amazon is set to take 800,000 ft2 at PLP’s site at Knowsley Business Park. The facility which has now secured planning permission, will total 835,678 ft2 and will comprise a 562,887 ft2 main warehouse processing area, a 199,670 ft2 mezzanine floor, pick tower racking, a 45,951 ft2 office and welfare block, and a 7,836 ft2 truckers lounge and bathroom facilities.

It will have 15m eaves, 64 dock and four level access doors on two sides with 108 HGV parking spaces, 534 car parking spaces including 28 disabled spaces and 53 electric charging spaces.

B8 Real Estate and JLL are joint agents on the PLP Knowsley site.

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