Inquiries for large warehouses show no sign of slowing with several units rumoured to be under offer around the region.
The shed market – transactions over 100,000 sq ft – saw an above-average take-up in 2010 in excess of 4m sq ft, compared to 3m sq ft in an average year.
Asda, which has seen its logistics needs grow with the takeover in 2010 of Netto, has a requirement in the market for a 500,000 sq ft depot and Waitrose is also looking for 500,000 sq ft on the M6 North West corridor. Both are expected to take design-and-build sites for new-build units rather than occupy existing space.
Two parties are also said to be interested in Austin Park, the former Ethel Austin base, in Knowsley, 426,000 sq ft with 14 acres of development land.
Liverpool-based Allen Logistics is understood to be close to a deal for 150,000 sq ft in Deacon Park, Knowsley. Great Bear Diostribution and DHL have been linked with Gazeley's 360,000 sq ft G.Park Liverpool facility.
Opportunism is driving the market with rents and incentives still at a discount as landlords try to clear empty rates and bank debt liabilities.
Jon Thorne, director at CB Richard Ellis in Liverpool, said occupiers can get 12 months rents free on a five-year lease and two years on a ten-year deal, with rents typically quoted at around £4/sq ft.
Thorne said: "My own view is that during the course of this year a lot of the remaining stock will be taken up and we will be into a period of design-and-build."