Throughout the past year Northamptonshire has been on an exciting journey to deliver growth through the many new development opportunities taking shape. These have, and are, forming the growth of the economy; building on the momentum created from a number of new and unique schemes, and the migration into the area of a number of high-profile and high-quality employers.
One of the most inimitable new developments is Rushden Lakes, which provides an example of a retail destination of the future - offering a blend of retail and dining, and a broad range of leisure activities from walking and cycling, to bird watching and water sports. The first retailers - Marks & Spencer, House of Fraser, Primark, Next, Fat Face, Pandora, White Stuff, River Island, JD Sports, H&M, Boots, Mountain Warehouse, Jigsaw, Phase Eight, Hobbs, Joules, L’Occitane, Accessorize, Clarks, Holland & Barratt. Moss Bros, New Look, Paperchase, Schuh, Flying Tiger and Two Seasons - have already opened their doors and reportedly are trading successfully. These are supported by Bewiched coffee shop, Costa, Patisserie Valerie, Wildwood, Canoe2 and the Wildlife Trust, with Bills, Pizza Express, Robert Goddard and Wagamama opening soon.
The developer of the 600,000 sq ft plus scheme, LXB Retail Properties Plc, has recently commented that progress is being made with phases two and three but that the status of planning permission has had a consequent impact on the timetable, with the likely opening now to be 2019. The further phases will offer a 14-screen Cineworld, an additional host of high quality restaurants including 3,000 sq ft to the Italian restaurant group Zizzi and a further range of leisure activities including a 28,912 sq ft trampoline centre - to be operated by Flip Out.
Earlier this year, plans were passed for the extension of Warth Park at Raunds to facilitate a further one million sq ft for Howden’s. The UK’s leading supplier of kitchen and joinery products already occupies a 670,000 sq ft distribution unit within the scheme and the additional space, in two units, will provide further capacity for the business to create long-term employment opportunities for local people in fields such as quality control, supply chain management and engineering, as well as skilled warehouse operatives and apprentices. Howdens is recognised as a good employer that looks after its people, with the company having twice featured in the Sunday Times ‘25 Best Big Companies to Work For’ awards.
New employment opportunities are being predicted to come forward over the next couple of years at Kettering Gateway. Following the completion of £10 million of preparatory infrastructure works, Segro and Roxhill Developments are pushing forward with the marketing of their new 70 acre scheme. Located directly adjacent to Junction 10 of the A14, the site - as well as now being ready to deliver up to 1.25 million sq ft of high quality and bespoke industrial and warehouse units in sizes from 50,000 sq ft to 275,000 sq ft - can provide occupiers with full connectivity to 10MWs of power and fibre broadband.
Complementing this commercial development is Hanwood Park, a major sustainable urban extension by joint development partners - Midtown Capital and Buccleuch Property - which will, when fully developed, offer some 5,500 new homes. It will also comprise over one million sq ft of commercial, health and leisure space, together with significant amenity and community space. Development has commenced on the first phase of house building.
Signs of commercial activity will also soon be seen at Cransley Park - a 32 acre site adjacent to Junction 8 of the A14. Having secured detailed planning and completed infrastructure works, St Francis Group has now confirmed that it will shortly to be in a position to commence the speculative construction of some 270,000 sq ft. This will comprise five industrial units, offering space from 25,000 sq ft up to 100,000 sq ft - triggering an immediate investment of some £26 million into the County.
Reportedly up to 400 new jobs could be created by Sainsbury’s as work on its new 325,000 sq ft distribution centre gathers momentum. The building at Prologis Park Pineham in Northampton will be used as a dedicated frozen food distribution facility and adjoins its existing 625,000 sq ft centre. Works are scheduled for completion in early 2018.
Nearby, Seven Capital has recognised the lack of good quality stock available to occupiers in the ‘mid-box’ market, and secured detailed planning consent to deliver two market leading industrial and logistics units. These will comprise approximately 40,000 sq ft and 60,000 sq ft, and be constructed on a speculative basis.
It has also just been announced that Clowes Development will be kick-starting 2018 with the speculative development of a 50,500 sq ft headquarters industrial/warehouse unit at Centrix - fronting onto Phoenix Parkway in Corby. Next to this, the developer will also construct a terrace of six brand new business units which will offer space from 2,150 sq ft up to 24,475 sq ft in combination. Both projects will offer leasehold and freehold opportunities for occupiers.
The last year has seen the main focus of developer activity move from large scale warehouse development to all sectors of the industrial/warehouse market and indeed now office development. This is a major step change. However, restricted supply supports rental growth performance for high quality stock and we consider the significant weight of global capital looking to invest will lead to continued growth.
Further information or advice can be obtained from Prop-Search - Tel: 01604 492000/01933 223300 or its website: www.prop-search.com