Warrington's industrial property market is continuing to strengthen according to the Council's sixteenth annual property report, which shows that industrial take up for 2013 was 31% greater than the previous high recorded in 2010.
The message at Warrington's sixteenth annual property review yesterday, was overwhelmingly positive, with increased figures in 2013 recorded across the board. The report was presented by Peter Crompton, director of BE Group, who compiled the research.
Warrington's industrial property take-up for 2013 was the highest since the reports began in 1998, with a total take-up of nearly 2m sq ft. Last year also set the record in terms of the highest rental values achieved, with Travis Perkins agreeing to pay £4.29/sq ft, or £3m a year, for its 700,000 sq ft unit currently under construction at Omega.
However there were still questions over the future industrial pipeline, with an ageing supply of property and limited development space across the region. In the Woolston area alone, 63% of properties more than 30 years old.
The investment market was also on the up, with a 75% increase compared to 2012. There were £140m of assets traded, with a number of investment funds adding to existing Warrington portfolios. The most significant of these included Standard Life's purchase of the Travis Perkins' Omega warehouse for £58.6m and LaSalle Investment Management's £14m purchase of the Hermes building, also at Omega.
In the office market Warrington followed the national trend with the highest level of activity since 2001, as take up exceeded 323,000 sq ft. Key deals included the Merseyside Police purchase of Millenium House, the Orbit purchase of 30,000 sq ft The Point at an 8.25% yield, and the IPCC lease of Renaissance House as the location for the Hillsborough enquiry.
Even the retail sector which has been in the doldrums for some years showed potential for optimism, with LaSalle chosen as preferred bidder for Warrington Retail Partnership's 764,000 sq ft Golden Square shopping centre which was put on the market earlier this year at an asking price of £125m.
In terms of future development, infrastructure was a key focus of plans for 2014. The improvement of Junction 8 was highlighted as a top priority for the council, dependent on central government funding. A second high-level bridge crossing at Warrington Waterfront was also on the cards, reaching from Port Warrington to Sankey Way.
Warrington Council has also formed a joint venture with Langtree, Wire Regeneration, to bring forward a number of projects including the Southern Gateway. In May work will begin at the Stadium Quarter on an £8.5m business incubator office and on a £10m University Technical College. Muse is also due to start on site at the £52m Bridge Street scheme later this year.
Cllr Terry O'Neill, leader of Warrington Council, also presented at the event. He said: "The economic gloom of 2008, thankfully, appears to be starting to recede. At last the national economy seems to be on the way to righting itself. Whilst one is wary of being overly optimistic, market confidence has undoubtedly improved and Warrington is in prime position to capitalise on this as we move forward.
"The figures contained within this year's report in every sector are outstanding."
Speakers at the event also included Steve Park, managing director of Warrington & Co, Steve Broomhead, chief executive of Warrington & Co, and Andy Farrall, executive director of economic regeneration at Warrington Council.
The Warrington Annual Property Review is commissioned by Warrington & Co.