Brent Forbes, director and head of commercial at Burnley-based Petty Chartered Surveyors , gives the low-down on supply and demand across the sectors in east Lancashire.
Like many towns in the North, the level of office inquiries is a little limited in Burnley.
Much of the older stock is circa 1970 and situated in the town centre; although offering large floor plates the accommodation is now showing its age. Exceptions include St James House, which was subject to a complete refurbishment approximately two years ago and rents of £8/sq ft have been achieved.
There has been little speculative office development in Burnley over the past few years with the exception of Kestrel Court on Network 65, a development undertaken by Errigal Developments. The scheme is located off junction 9 of the M65 and offers suites from 770 sq ft to 4,500 sq ft where asking rents are £9.50/sq ft.
Swedish Bank, Handelsbanken, is now in occupation of a first office suite at Kestrel Court and terms are currently out to three other companies.
Further investment is planned next to the new Burnley University Campus which is associated with UCLan.
Burnley Education & Enterprise Park will be a private sector led development and it is planned that there will be a 30,000 sq ft business centre with associated advanced factory and business accommodation.
There is a reasonable amount of activity within this sector and a steady flow of inquiries.
Empire Business Park in Liverpool Road, Burnley, is a prestigious new business development undertaken by Barnfield Construction. The majority of Empire is now let or under offer with rents of £4.50/sq ft having been achieved. There is a couple of units available ranging from 3,000 sq ft on either a freehold, or leasehold basis. Quoting figures are £65/sq ft freehold, or £4.50/sq ft leasehold.
Further, a technology park is planned as a joint venture with AMS Neve and Barnfield Construction on an existing eight-acre site just off Rossendale Road in Burnley. AMS Neve is world famous in providing music and film technology. They are keen to see an expansion of their existing technological facility. The existing premises are to be refurbished and new office/hybrid accommodation from 2,400 sq ft is to be built.
A notable recent letting was that of the 151,000 sq ft Liberty building on the Heasandford Industrial Estate with Northern Trust as landlords and Wasabi Frog, parent company of online fashion retailer Boohoo, the incoming tenant.
Future developments include the redevelopment of the Weavers Triangle, which is in the majority owned by Burnley Council, who have identified preferred developers for wholesale redevelopment of the canal corridor to include a variety of commercial, leisure and residential uses.
Typically second-hand stock is achieving rentals of around £3.50/sq ft, with the older north light mills achieving between £1.50-£2/sq ft, dependent upon the condition and loading facilities.
Work is due to begin shortly on the extension of the existing Charter Walk Shopping Centre, currently in administration, with the Oval to comprise a series of retail outlets with pre-lets having been agreed with Primark and Next.
Charter Walk remains popular, there are few empty units and the former Woolworths unit is to be split with Peacocks taking the majority.
Generally secondary locations as in many towns are struggling, as these locations were predominantly occupied by local traders, many of which are finding trading difficult.