The North West has seen significant recovery in industrial occupier activity, according to Knight Frank. Take-up reached just over 3m sq ft in the first half of 2015, accounting for 18% of the national total.
According to Knight Frank’s LOGIC report, the increase in take-up for units over 50,000 sq ft was mainly due to a significant rise in occupier-led enquiries, which emerged towards the end of 2014.
Two of the largest leasing deals in the first half came from discount retailer B&M. The company took 343,312 sq ft at the Onyx350 building in Runcorn and secured 436,115 sq ft at the Midpoint 460 unit in Middlewich by way of a sub-lease from Tesco.
A number of design-and-build transactions were also agreed, including to Nice-Pak, which agreed to take a new lease at Westwood Park of 400,000 sq ft in Wigan, while Culina Logistics secured a 280,000 sq ft warehouse at Peel’s Port Salford development.
There is more than 1m sq ft currently under construction, including the 250,000 sq ft distribution warehouse at Trafford Park, which has been pre-let to Norbert Dentressangle on a 15-year lease and is due to be completed by March 2016.
Speculative developments that are well underway or nearing completion include Evander’s 185,191 sq ft unit at Revolution in Chorley and the 110,000 sq ft industrial unit being built by DB Symmetry at M6 Epic, which is due to complete by the end of 2015.
In the UK industrial investment market, just under £3bn of industrial assets changed hands in the first half of the year, which is relatively subdued compared with the record £4.2bn achieved in the second half of 2014.
Rob Taylor, head of Knight Frank’s North West industrial team, said: “Design and build opportunities will continue to become more prevalent as the market sees more occupiers agreeing to long-term leases. In addition to this, we will see a number of units over 100,000 sq ft being built over the next 12 months.”