Hertfordshire continues to experience strong occupier demand for industrial units across all size brackets. However stock levels are low with occupiers now considering options north of the county to find availability and value for money.
Developers who have been bold and committed to speculative developments in the county have been successful and two of our clients have recently been rewarded for their efforts.
In 2016 Albion Land developed a multi-unit scheme totalling 70,000 sq. ft. at Bourne End Mills near Hemel Hempstead. All 12 units were sold by Brasier Freeth prior to practical completion in early 2017. The one larger unit of 30,397 sq. ft. was sold to an investor and Brasier Freeth was subsequently instructed to find a tenant. Demand for quality units such as these has held up and the unit was let in April 2017 to Optoma Europe by way of a 10 year lease at £10 per sq. ft.
Just a few miles down the road in Hemel Hempstead in the town’s Maylands Business Area, Brasier Freeth has also recently let two warehouse/ distribution units totalling 58,400 sq. ft. Acting on behalf of Orchard Street Investment Management, Unit 1 Maylands Point on Maylands Avenue was pre-let to Selco, the builders merchants, at a rent of £10.25 per sq. ft. Unit 2 was let on practical completion in April 2017 to Elliot Baxter, the UK’s leading independent paper supplier, at a rent of £9.95 per sq. ft.
So where have all the sites gone?
The increased pressure for residential properties in London and across the county continues to see the loss of industrial sites. The problem is that when industrial sites do become available they are highly sought after and the reality is there are only a handful of schemes either on site or in the pipeline:
- Kier are on site at Trade City, Watford Health Campus – The scheme comprises 12 units totalling 72,507 sq. ft. and practical completion is June 2017.
- Prologis Park, Hemel Hempstead – Detailed planning has been submitted for a 10 unit logistics scheme totalling 585,000 sq. ft. The park is likely to be built out in two phases. Subject to receipt of a satisfactory planning consent Prologis anticipate the first phase being on site summer 2017. We are already reporting good demand for these units especially in the 20-70,000 sq. ft. size bracket.
- Maylands Avenue, Hemel Hempstead – This prominent 1.6 acre site is under offer for small unit development.
So how do we attract industrial occupiers to the area or encourage them to grow? The lack of opportunity again raises the question of green belt land, which is a political hot potato in Hertfordshire for any politician.
For more information on speculative developments in Hertfordshire or for advice on acquiring, letting or disposing of industrial properties please contact us.