Deals totalling 3.2m sq ft enabled Cheshire & Warrington to buck the trend of poor take-up across the rest of the region last year, according to the Cheshire & Warrington Property Review 2013.
The sub-region enjoyed a small year-on-year uplift from 2011 at a time when the rest of the region saw take-up hit a five year low, according to the report prepared for Marketing Cheshire by BE Group director Peter Crompton and launched at Chester Racecourse.
"Our property report findings clearly reinforce Cheshire & Warrington's position as the power-house of the North West economy," Crompton said.
The launch of the report was hosted by Big Storage partner Andrew Donaldson, a member of Cheshire Business Leaders.
The report was sponsored by Goodman, Pochin Property, Omega Warrington, Aecom, Lamont, Cheshire West & Chester Council, Cheshire East Council and Warrington Council.
In addition to Peter Crompton sharing the report's findings, there were presentations from Brian Reay, director at Pochins, Aidan Manley, director at Cheshire & Warrington LEP Support Team and Mark Berrisford-Smith, head of economics at HSBC UK Commercial Banking.
Lettings in 2012 included Jaguar Land Rover and horticultural products company William Sinclair each taking buildings in excess of 400,000 sq ft at Ellesmere Port.
The first deal secured at Omega – a 200,000 sq ft letting to Brakes Group – played a key part in 2012's performance.
The office market saw a 20% increase in the level of take-up and number of deals from 2011.
Headline rents reached £18.50 a sq ft for a letting in Wilmslow town centre but office deals in the sub-region were mainly dominated by out of town locations such as Birchwood and Chester Business Park.
The biggest scheme to start during the year was the Waters Corporation Mass Spectrometry HQ at Stamford Lodge, Wilmslow. It will deliver 208,000 sq ft of office, research & development and manufacturing space.
It was also announced that Jodrell Bank will be the headquarters for the international Square Kilometre Array radio telescope programme with the 13,500 sq ft headquarters to be located near Holmes Chapel.
The retail sector was more subdued in town centres but Cheshire Oaks secured a 60,000 sq ft deal for a Debenhams store within the Coliseum scheme.
Warrington Council signed a second joint venture with Iliad for the Stadium Quarter, with Wilson Bowden submitting revised plans for a £90m redevelopment of Macclesfield town centre, to be anchored by Debenhams.
The residential market showed a mixed picture with Warrington seeing completions increasing for the fourth year in a row, but Cheshire West and Chester reported a reduction in completions.
The investment market saw a quieter year. Retail investments led the way with foodstore deals in Alderley Edge, Congleton, Northwich and Warrington all attracting at sub 5% initial yields.
Forward funding of the Brakes building at Omega saw an initial yield of 6% – the best for an industrial property in Warrington for six years.
- To read the full Cheshire & Warrington Property Review 2013 click here .