By Richard Baker
IT is true that Northampton has strong ambitions and indeed a proven track record of being a leading area for development, innovation and business growth. It also remains a prime target market for logistic businesses with significant recent take up of available space and strong rental growth.
This reputation - as a hotspot on the UK's logistics map - has recently further been enhanced with a string of commitments for new development, which should go some way to meet the evolving needs of the logistics, distribution and e-commerce sectors. This in turn will create new employment opportunities, as well as driving forward strategic plans for growth.
Gazeley, a GLP company and a leading investor and developer of logistics warehouses and distribution parks, has acquired a 19-acre redevelopment site - formerly occupied by Robert Horne Paper Company - on Moulton Park. Demolition and construction is expected to commence at the start of June for the development of four warehouse units of 50,350 square feet, 90,100 square feet, 132,698 square feet and 155,227 square feet - to be known as G.Park Northampton. The speculative scheme is scheduled for completion by the end of the year with each building being developed to BREEAM Very Good certification to include a range of state-of-the-art sustainability features such as LED lighting, solar thermal heating, rainwater harvesting, power charging stations for electric vehicles together, with a variety of wellness initiatives designed to improve the working environment for employees.
Northampton has also attracted inward investment from the United States with a new distribution centre being developed at Brackmills Point. A recent ground-breaking ceremony has been held to herald the start of construction work on C172K; a 172,000 square feet warehouse forming part of the second phase of work on the eastern fringe of the Brackmills Industrial Estate. The speculative build of the distribution facility, on what was formerly farmland, will complete Brackmills Point for developers Roxhill, after Boston-based Cabot Properties recognised Northampton's pivotal position as a premier distribution location. Winvic has been appointed as the main contractor for the units construction, scheduled for completion this summer.
The development of two industrial and logistics by SevenCaptial has recently been completed at Pineham, adjacent to Junction 15a of the M1, totalling 105,270 square feet. The smallest of which, comprising of 41,786 square feet, is already reportedly under offer.
Panattoni Europe, one of Europe's largest logistics companies, has just entered the UK logistics market for the first time with the takeover of Warwick-based First Industrial and as part of its continued commitment to undertaking over three million square feet of speculative development during 2018, has broken ground on a site in Northampton. Situated close to Junction 16 of the M1, it has commenced the speculative development of three warehouses totalling 625,000 square feet. Practical completion is anticipated early next year.
Having purchased a key logistics site on Brackmills last year, Liberty Property Trust has now commenced demolition of the former Howard Paper building which occupied the land. Work will shortly commence, therefore, on the speculative development of a new 196,000 square foot distribution facility to feature a 15m minimum clear height and 22 dock loading and four surface level loading doors.
Northampton has, unfortunately, of late suffered from some negative media attention, being in the spotlight for the County Council's financial poor management and governance.
As a result, a sale of the County Council's new landmark office headquarters at One Angel Square in the town centre has been completed by way of a sale and leaseback agreement. The building of some 236,800 square feet only opened last year, bringing together the Council's previous 12 offices under one roof and with scope for housing some 2,000 employees. Canada Life Investments is reported to have purchased it for in the region of £64 million. Hopefully the proceeds will help to improve the council's fortunes going forward.
One of Northampton's largest and long-standing employers has just cemented its commitment to the town with the purchase of headquarter premises on Pavilion Drive. Barclays has recently completed the purchase of its 225,000 square foot facility from the landlord, Bayernfonds Immobilienverwaltung GMBH & Co. The town has been a key location for Barclays in the UK for more than 50 years and was the birthplace of Barclaycard following the launch of the brand in the UK in 1966. Pavilion Drive, which currently houses 3,250 employees, has remained the UK headquarters for Barclaycard for just over than 20 years since the building was opened in 1997.
So, Northampton has experienced mixed fortunes over the past 12 months but, overall, the town is still thriving and another exciting period lies ahead.
Further information or advice can be obtained from Prop-Search on 01604 492000 or 01933 223300 or via the website www.prop-search.com