Pochin Construction has started work for Legal & General Property and DB Symmetry on the speculative development of an 110,000 sq ft industrial unit at M6EPIC, on 34 acres next to Junction 25 of the motorway.
The joint venture secured planning consent earlier this year for a total of 182,556 sq ft of industrial space at South Lancashire Industrial Estate. The remaining 70,000 sq ft may be added to the unit or developed at a later date.
Andrew Dickman, director at DB Symmetry, said he was also looking at speculative developments of units in the 100,000 sq ft to 200,000 sq ft range in Knowsley, Cheshire, and North and East Manchester.
Dickman added: "Beginning work on site reaffirms our confidence in the North West industrial/warehouse market. Speculative development is always a carefully considered step to take. We are convinced that the M6 corridor demands high quality new space and we are responding to what the market needs."
AEW Architects are the designers. Steve Burne, managing director, said: "AEW is working on a number of potential speculative development sites in the industrial sector and the ability to start the next phase at M6Epic demonstrates the importance of sites being oven ready. DB Symmetry and Legal & General had the confidence some time ago to get the site to a position ahead of the curve to be able to deliver units which will come to the market at the right time. The size of unit to be delivered has been considered carefully, with flexibility to extend if required."
Pochin is due to finish the unit in December this year. Agency teams from CBRE, B8RE and Moriarty & Co have been instructed to market the unit.
Nearby ocupiers include Heinz, Sports Direct, Siemens, Bakkavor Group, AB World Foods, Norbert Dentressangle, Carlsberg and Milliken Carpets.
Will Edwards, fund manager at Legal & General Property, said: "This high quality, well-located warehouse unit, which is due to be completed in six months' time, is expected to be met with strong occupier appetite, satisfying a market where demand continues to outstrip supply and carefully designed, strategic space is key."
Paul Cook, director of industrial agency at CBRE Manchester, said: "With some 4m sq ft of pipeline take-up and only 3m sq ft of available space within the region, there is only around 11 months' supply of quality industrial space in the North West making the timing of this speculative development impeccable. Online retailers are still driving the market and big occupiers are rapidly realising that there is very limited stock to satisfy their long-term requirements and as such, we are already handling keen interest in this unit."