Peel is in talks with UK institutional investors to develop sheds speculatively, with Port Salford and Logistics North the most likely sites to come forward.
The developer hosted an event on Wednesday morning to launch Peel Logistics, a marketing collective of 66 Peel-owned sites containing 6,000 acres and capable of holding 60m sq ft of warehouse space, with a potential investment value of £4bn.
The launch was co-hosted by representatives from Peel and Harworth Estates, formerly part of UK Coal, in which Peel had a stake, and Liverpool SuperPort.
Matt Fitton and Ed Burrows, both from Peel, told the gathering at the Mandala restaurant on the beach, that a planning application was likely to be submitted for 4m sq ft on 350 acres at Port Salford, on land between the A57 and M62. The site currently has consent for 1.5m sq ft, the new application would be in addition to this and is aimed at making Port Salford more competitive with Omega in Warrington, Burrows said.
Fitton said cash-rich UK pension funds were keen to take advantage of the tension between confident occupier demand and a shortage of supply in the shed market to resume major speculative development for the first time since the downturn.
Also speaking at the event were Iain Thomson and Chris Davidson from Harworth Estates, which is itself considering building a 400,000 sq ft speculative shed at Logistics North, the new name for the former colliery site at Cutacre in Bolton.
Bolton Council is currently considering a planning application for a 120,000 sq ft unit for local firm MBDA, which makes missile shells, at Logistics North. Aldi is already committed to building a 450,000 sq ft shed there.
Meanwhile, online grocer Ocado is in the market looking for a design-and-build site for 350,000 sq ft and is understood to have shortlisted four developers, with bids submitted last week. The list includes Peel with Port Salford and Harworth's Logistics North. Ocado will create 2,000 jobs if it delivers on the requirement.