Warrington & Co’s annual property review has reported strong figures for the region with £140m in investment spend across 2018 along with office take-up increasing by more than 100,000 sq ft.
According to the report put together with BE Group, there were 26 investment deals in Warrington in 2018 totalling £140.2m; the largest was Warrington Council’s purchase of the Eddie Stobart HQ at Stretton Business Park for £26.1m, while Ribston’s £18.2m acquisition of Taylor Business Park in Risley was among the highest.
The industrial sector accounted for nearly half of all transactions, attracting an investment spend of £64.1m, primarily driven by the Eddie Stobart and Taylor Business Park deals, although four more sites changed hands for more than £2.5m.
The largest industrial deal in 2018 was Royal Mail’s pre-let of a 346,000 sq ft unit at the next phase of Omega, first revealed by Place North West in July. Prime rents for industrial have risen 32% in the last five years and now stand at around £6.70/sq ft.
Office investment also performed strongly with the largest deal last year being the council’s £13m purchase of Stanford House at Birchwood from Texton Property Fund.
Similarly, take-up of office space rose by more than 100,000 sq ft compared to 2017, hitting 269,000 sq ft. Nine deals above 10,000 sq ft were reported; Bilfinger’s 10-year, 22,100 sq ft letting at Daten Park in Birchwood was the largest, followed by Highways England’s 20,600 sq ft deal at Atlantic House, part of the authority’s plan to develop a 240-strong team in Warrington this year.
Prime rent for office space in Warrington is now at a record level of around £23/sq ft, and many of the major transactions last year were on 10-year lease terms.
Cllr Russ Bowden, leader of Warrington Council said: “Warrington’s economy continues to boom. As a city we consistently outperform the rest of the region and much of the UK in our economic performance as is evidenced yet again in this review. Warrington has very ambitious plans to uphold that economic position and trajectory.”
Warrington is also working to bring forward a refreshed Local Plan, with a housing target of 18,900 homes, or 945 a year, between 2017 and 2037. As well as housing, the plan proposes 894 acres of employment land, at sites including Port Warrington, the Waterfront Business Hub, and a 286-acre site next to the borough’s proposed “garden suburb” at the junction of the M6 and M56.