By Richard Baker BSc MRICS
DURING the last year, whilst developer activity in Northamptonshire has seen large scale distribution warehouse development continue, the growing confidence in the general industrial/warehouse market has led to speculative development across all size levels.
Having acquired a 19-acre redevelopment site earlier this year, Gazeley has been busy undertaking works to clear the land on Moulton Park in Northampton, which formerly housed the Robert Horne Paper Company, part of the merchanting group Paperlinx UK. The new scheme, known as G.Park, will comprise three speculatively built logistics warehouses, to be available in spring next year and one build-to-suit facility. These will range in size from 50,350 square feet to 155,227 square feet, be Grade A rated and suitable for a range of occupiers including last-mile logistics, 3PLs, retail/FMCG and manufacturers.
Another of Northampton's landmark buildings, towering on the landscape at approximately 30 metres, has also recently been reduced to rubble following the collapse of Howard Smith Paper Group, also part of Paperlinx. The site's new owner, Liberty Property Trust and its partners Equation Properties, have started work to deliver a new 196,000 square foot modern logistics unit on the Brackmills Industrial Estate. The scheme, known as Liberty 196, will comprise a warehouse and hub office and achieve completion during the first quarter of 2019.
On the eastern fringe of the Brackmills Industrial Estate, Cabot Properties has completed the speculative development of C172K; a 172,000 square foot warehouse facility. Prior to practical completion, the unit was pre-let to the logistics giant Dachser, complementing its existing UK headquarter offices, warehouse and transshipment facility close by.
Prologis has also been rewarded for the speculative development of a further Grade A distribution unit at its already successful Park Pineham, adjacent to Junction 15a of the M1. Planning permission has been granted for a further development phase totalling 1.1 million square feet which includes DC7, a 211,304 square foot building nearing completion. Prologis has reportedly already secured a new tenant which could trigger further speculative development within the scheme.
Legal & General has recently announced that it, on behalf of its Industrial Property Investment Fund, has secured an agreement with leading UK logistics provider Clipper Logistics, to lease its new 196,268 square foot purpose-built distribution centre in Crick. Fronting the M1 and very close to Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal, Alchem1 - a 196,268 square foot headquarters warehouse facility - has been let on a new 10 year lease. It was speculatively constructed by Legal & General, in partnership with Graftongate, having been identified by the Fund as a highly-desirable logistics location within the prime Midlands' Golden Triangle.
Heading into North Northamptonshire, construction work at Cransley Park, a new 270,000 square foot industrial/warehouse development in Kettering is on track and progressing on time for completion early next year. The development of the new business park by St Francis Group and Richardsons Capital began in May this year marked by a ground breaking ceremony. The 22-acre gateway site at Junction 8 of the A14 comprises five buildings offering accommodation from 25,000 square feet to 100,000 square feet. The units are being offered for both lease and purchase and will be completed in Q1 2019. The agents have reported good levels of interest in this development.
Following on from the commitment by Eddie Stobart of a new 844,000 square foot regional distribution centre at Midlands Logistics Park in Corby, Europe's leading home appliances manufacturer, BSH Home Appliances - the company behind global brands such as Bosch and Siemens is reported to have secured a deal with Mulberry Developments and Frogmore Properties for a new 1.1m square foot warehouse. This further demonstrates the strength of the market.
Elsewhere in the county, two competing schemes to deliver substantial rail freight interchanges are with the Planning Inspectorate. Rail Central, by Ashfield Land and Gazeley, on a site between the villages of Blisworth and Milton Malsor, is predicted to create up to 8,000 new jobs. The scheme includes a traditional container handling inter modal terminal, and up to 7.4 million square feett of rail-connected and rail-served logistics and commercial buildings. Northampton Gateway, Roxhill's competing strategic rail freight terminal, is located adjacent to Junction 15 of the M1 motorway. The application is for up to five million square feet of warehousing and would include container storage and HGV parking, rail sidings to serve individual warehouses, and with the capability to also provide a 'rapid rail freight' facility as part of the intermodal freight terminal.
Looking ahead, it is considered that restricted supply will support rental growth performance for high-quality existing stock and in turn see continued development. It is unlikely that Brexit will alter the fundamental benefits of investing in UK commercial property; ultimately, commercial property is a long-term investment and we believe developers and investors alike will continue to take a long-term view.
Further information or advice can be obtained from Prop-Search on 01604 492000 or 01933 223300 or at the website www.prop-search.com