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Imbalance between supply and demand sees return of pre-lets and pre-sales

Pre-lets and pre-sales are making a return to the South West’s commercial property market as the shortage of quality space across the region continues to bite.  Developers including St Modwen, LXB and Axten have agreed pre-lets and pre-sales on new developments now underway at Caxten Business Park, Warmley in Bristol and at Triangle Park and Quedgeley West in Gloucester. 


“Pre-lets and pre-sales, once a common feature of the commercial property market, have been extremely limited over the last five years,” says Andrew Ridler, industrial partner at Alder King.  “With the lack of supply and rising levels of demand in Bristol and Gloucester, it was inevitable that some businesses would only be able to satisfy their requirements through design and build.”


In Bristol, Alder King has negotiated the first pre-sale on part of a 2.4 acre cleared industrial site at Caxton Business Park in Warmley to WBC Automotive, an employee owned specialist vehicle repair business.  Developer Axten Properties has obtained planning consent to develop part of the site to create 20,000 sq ft of modern production and office space for WBC, which will facilitate further expansion and create new jobs.  Axten is now applying for planning permission to develop five further units ranging from 3,000 to 15,000 sq ft on the remainder of the site where, encouragingly, one of the proposed buildings is already under offer.


In Gloucester, Alder King, acting on behalf of St Modwen, has secured a pre-let at Quedgeley West, a £42m business park development four miles south west of Gloucester.  Diesel engine manufacturer Lister Petter has agreed terms on a purpose-built 40,000 sq ft manufacturing facility at the development.  A planning application for Lister Petter’s building and an additional 32,000 sq ft building was approved by Stroud District Council last week.  Work will be completed in the spring of 2014.  Lister Petter’s relocation from the £150m Littlecombe mixed use scheme in Dursley safeguards 200 skilled manufacturing jobs.


At Triangle Park, a £34m mixed use development in Gloucester, developer LXB has secured a pre-let on a 71,000 sq ft food store for Morrisons.  The scheme, marketed by Alder King’s Gloucester office, includes a further 140,000 sq ft of employment space suitable for high tech manufacturing and engineering training, car showrooms, a trade park, drive-through restaurants/coffee shops, incubator units and light industrial unit.  One of the major urban regeneration sites in Gloucester, Triangle Park forms part of a wider regeneration programme known as Railway Triangle Corridor and will transform the main gateway from the south of Gloucester. 


Andrew Ridler continued: “This welcome return of development activity should translate into increased lettings as the year progresses and increase pressure on headline rents which have remained stable in recent years.”

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