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The Commercial Property Review

PUBLISHED: 12:17 16 December 2011 | UPDATED: 20:27 20 February 2013

The Commercial Property Review

The Commercial Property Review

Commercial estate agents and surveyors across The Cotswolds report a better-than-expected 2011, but caution remains for commercial property in 2012.

The Commercial Property Review



Commercial estate agents and surveyors across The Cotswolds report a better-than-expected 2011, but caution remains for commercial property in 2012.



Peter Foyle, partner at commercial property agency Bruton Knowles, is relatively upbeat for commercial property in 2012. He said: While the UK economy is still in the doldrums and concern about the future of the Euro is further contributing to economic uncertainty, the wheels of the regions industrial and office market are still turning. Deals are happening and some businesses were confident enough in 2011 to progress major growth plans. Simon McKeag of Ash and Co added: Activity levels were better than expected in 2011 with a number of commercial units let or sold that had been languishing empty for some time.



McKeag also reports enquires for good quality commercial units across the Cotswolds holding up, but warns that such space is in short supply. The office market continues to experience difficulties as workforces are downsized resulting in fewer enquiries and in parts of the region there is an over supply of office space, he adds. Foyle adds: Poorer quality, older industrial properties are more difficult to shift. Also, this is arguably a buyers market, and units, irrespective of size, must be priced realistically if they are to attract any buyer interest.



Commercial property, particularly in Cheltenham, Gloucester, Tewkesbury and Cirencester has weathered the economic recession better than the rest of the county thanks to the relative wealth of the surrounding catchment areas. The outlook for 2012 is positive, demonstrated by the level of development in the pipeline. Peter Foyle added: We are very fortunate in this region to be able to inspire such high levels of investor confidence in these challenging economic times.



INDUSTRIAL



At Tewkesbury, Bruton Knowles acted as agent for a deal that saw a major manufacturer acquire over 120,000 sq ft of factory space in the area. Bruton Knowles is about to complete on another manufacturers acquisition of a 60,000 sq ft industrial unit on the Ashchurch Trading Estate.



Tools4ever moved its UK office to larger premises at Miller Court, Tewkesbury Business Park. Acting on behalf of Glad man Developments, Rob Holley from Alder King Property Consultants, let the open plan, first floor office accommodation. Joint marketing agents Alder King and Nick Bevan Consulting are now marketing the remaining units at the development, which range in size from 1,035 sq ft to 10,070 sq ft and are available on a new lease.



Acting on behalf of landlord, M7 Real Estate LLP, Alder King leased Unit 15 at Ashchurch Business Centre, to Smart Stabilisers, a Weatherford UK Ltd company specialising in the design and manufacture of drilling products and services for the oil and gas industry.



Ash and Co has recently concluded the letting of a fully refurbished unit of 17,000 sq ft at Stonedale Road, Stonehouse to the Austrian based medical manufacturing company Leonard Lang. The move is a result of further expansion of their business in the UK market and requirement for modern and accessible premises. Bruton Knowles acted as agent for the sale of a 45,000 sq ft factory site at Bishops Cleeve, Cheltenham.



Demand for industrial is similarly strong across Cheltenham. However Bruton Knowles Peter Foyle warns: Previous recessions followed significant property booms that resulted in an over supply of quality units, but this recession does not follow this pattern and there was no excessive speculative development prior to 2008. The availability of industrial sites over 20,000 sq ft is at its lowest level for over 20 years so demand for large units is robust.



Alder King let Unit 5 Tuffley Trading Estate in Gloucester to Hydraproducts Ltd. The new tenants join other businesses including Walls Truck Services Ltd, Clover Leaf Car Services, Intocleaning and BMI Hose Gloucester who have taken up approximately 14,734 sq ft of industrial warehouse space between them.



Office market



The office market has been quiet in 2011 particularly in Gloucester where funding cuts have reduced demand from the public sector. However more Grade A office space is needed. In Cheltenham Bruton Knowles, along with Savills, is acting on Ellenborough House on Wellington Street, which has been completely refitted by owner Ignis Asset Management to provide quality office facilities. Over 60 per cent of the 20,000 sq ft available for let is already under offer, with law firm Rickerbys leasing the remaining 25,000 sq ft of the building.



Demand from corporate clients in Cheltenham is generally good with clients often taking new rents of over 14 per sq ft. In Gloucester, Ecclesiastical insurance is progressing with plans for new head quarters on Southgate Moorings in Gloucester Docks.



Other commercial and retail



Cheltenham Development Task Force, which promotes council-owned land, has announced Auger Buchler as preferred developer for a mixed-use development scheme on a 5-acre site at North Place and Portland Street. In another show of confidence in the region, developer Formal Properties is developing offices in Jessop Avenue, Cheltenham and Railway House, Gloucester. Things are also looking up in the retail sector with upgrades planned for Cheltenhams Regent Arcade and Beechwood Shopping Centre.



In Gloucester, developer Stanhope is Gloucester City Councils preferred developer for the redevelopment of Kings Quarter with 200,000 sq ft of new and replacement retail floor space, while Gloucester Quays LLP is preparing plans to relocate the Peel Centres cinema into the Designer Outlet Centre. Ash and Co reports a strong demand for secondary retail space in Gloucester Town Centre, thanks to the positive effect of the citys on-going regeneration. Hopes are high that developer LXB will secure planning to develop Gloucesters railway triangle.



Proposals for the site include a Morrisons supermarket and light industrial units. At St Oswalds Park Tesco/Grantchester Properties propose to redevelop their existing retail site with a new food store and additional retail units totalling 144,000 sq ft. Gloucester Business Park continues to attract occupiers. The BSS Group Ltd has securing the letting of Unit D Kingfisher Business Park, just off London Road in Stroud. Alder King, acting for a private landlord, let the unit to the group on a new 10-year lease.



Industrial / Warehouse and Offices in the North Cotswolds



Hayman-Joyce is currently offering units on three of the more prestigious North Cotswold business parks:



Northcot Business Park



Four warehouse/industrial units available ranging from 4,000 sq.ft. to 8,400 sq.ft are available with serious interest in one unit from a local company to relocate, and several expressions of interest in two others. In the longer term there is planning permission for a range of four new smaller units of around 2,000 sq.ft. each.



Campden Business Park



Close to the old Chipping Campden railway station and the Food Research Laboratory, a modern development of offices and small industrial/workshop units. Two small workshop units with offices over, a first floor office unit and a larger office building comprising three suites.



Cotswold Business Village, Moreton-in-Marsh



This 11 acre business park situated on the eastern outskirts of Moreton-in-Marsh has now been completed by the developers, Business Village Limited. Hayman-Joyce currently has an office unit extending to 2,000 sq.ft. available to let and an industrial unit which is let, and available for sale as an investment.



Shops and other Commercial Property



Hayman-Joyce has recently let a prime position retail shop in Moreton-in-Marsh to the Charity MIND and another shop in Stow-on-the-Wold as a childrens shoe shop. The company has several shops and offices, a tearoom and pub on its books in the north Cotswolds and is experiencing renewed demand for retail and town centre office premises, bucking the national trend. James Hayman-Joyce considers Moreton-in-Marsh is so attractive to new businesses is its position at the centre of a thriving rural area and the railway station with direct connections to London through Oxford and Reading in just over 1 hours. Unit 3 Cotswold Business Village has been sold by Alder King to Cotswold Cycles Ltd. The two storey semi-detached unit offers full workshop space and offices along with 8 parking spaces. Cotswold Cycles offers a full range of services for all cyclists from basic parts and maintenance to group cycle rides



Windrush & Isis Lakes sold at Cotswold Water Park



Acting on behalf of Watermark Resorts, Alder King has sold a portfolio of ground rents on Windrush & Isis Lakes comprising 184 lakeside holiday homes set in the picturesque landscaped settings of the Cotswold Water Park. The sale reflected a net initial yield of 4.5 per cent. University announces developer for Pittville site Housebuilder Charles Church has been selected as the preferred developer for the redevelopment of the former The University of Gloucestershire s Pittville campus.



The site, on the corner of New Barn Lane and Albert Road in Cheltenham, was vacated last summer with media, art and design teaching relocated to The Park, Francis Close Hall and the Hardwick site in St Pauls. The University will retain half of the three-hectare site for student accommodation, with the teaching and learning facilities having been made available for redevelopment. A formal planning application is expected to be submitted in early 2012.



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