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Industrial property transaction times shrink as occupiers compete for space

The severe shortage of available industrial and distribution accommodation in Bristol is resulting in faster transaction times as occupiers compete for space. 

Typically property transactions have taken around three months to complete but, with quality industrial accommodation at a premium, occupiers are agreeing terms and finalising deals in half the time in order to secure the property.

The recent letting of central Bristol’s largest industrial unit is a good example, says Andrew Ridler, industrial partner at Alder King.

“We have just let Universal House, a 56,283 sq ft distribution/office building on Pennywell Road, St Philips, to a local family business with the deal completing in just six weeks,” he says.

Bristol Novelty, a fancy dress and novelty item wholesaler, had occupied around 35,000 sq ft of space in three buildings on Kingsland Road and William and Alfred Street in St Philips but had outgrown the space.  It was keen to bring its operation under one roof but finding suitably large premises in central Bristol with good access for container deliveries presented a challenge.  The company, which employs over 40 staff, thought it may have to move out of the city centre to Cribbs Causeway or Avonmouth. 

When Universal House came to the market late last year, following Universal’s relocation to Cyprus, Bristol Novelty moved swiftly to secure the property.

Danny Ryall, operations manager at Bristol Novelty, said: “Universal House ticked all our boxes.  At over 56,000 sq ft, it gave us room for further expansion and had a large secure yard area for deliveries.  It was close to our current premises and the motorway network but had none of the issues of low road and rail bridges that characterised our other premises.  A number of staff walk and cycle to work and so it was also very good from a staff retention point of view. 

“There were other interested parties looking at the property so we knew we would have to act decisively if we wanted it.  Being prepared and able to complete all the legal formalities in six weeks ensured we were successful in securing the property.”

Alder King’s Andrew Ridler added: “Competition between occupiers is increasing, putting property owners in a strong position when it comes to negotiating terms.  In today’s highly competitive market, it is not just the terms offered but also the speed in which the transaction can be completed which is influencing landlords’ decisions.”

Bristol Novelty has taken Universal House on a new 10 year lease at a rent of £300,000 per annum.  Alder King acted for the landlord, Universal.

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