St. Modwen is continuing to trade on success in Stoke-on-Trent, reporting 100 per cent occupation at Fenton Trade Park alongside securing occupiers for all 14 units at its new development, Queensway Industrial Estate.
The final two units at Fenton Trade Park, totalling 14,424 sq ft, have been let on a three year lease to local company Sean O’Connor Trading. The letting takes Fenton Trade Park to full occupation with all 22 industrial and warehouse units now let or sold to companies ranging from Oriental Carpets to GMT Logistics and car specialists, Autobrite Ltd.
St Modwen has now let or sold all of the North Staffordshire speculative development schemes that it committed to just prior to the start of the recession. Over 90 small industrial, warehouse, office and business units, totalling nearly 300,000 sq ft have been occupied through the recessionary period by new businesses, or those expanding in the North Staffordshire area. Together these schemes have provided employment for around 700 people.
Mike Herbert, St Modwen’s regional director commented: “It is very encouraging that despite one of the most difficult periods of the economy most can remember a substantial number of North Staffordshire business people have had the confidence to invest in new premises. The difficulty going forward is that current market values, uncertainty and issues like empty rates make it very difficult for development companies to invest speculatively in new buildings, which could result in a shortage of space for smaller companies. Larger businesses are usually able to plan ahead sufficiently to commit to having new premises designed and built to their requirements, a particular specialism of St Modwen’s and one we are focussing on in the region.”
One way in which St Modwen has been able to respond to possible shortage of business space is through re-using existing space. At the Queensway Industrial Estate in Longport, which was acquired by St. Modwen in Autumn 2010 as part of the £21.4m ETP Portfolio (see note below), St Modwen has refurbished the vacant units securing lettings and sales across the estate.
The 62,000 sq ft estate comprises 14 industrial units, of which 10 were already fully let. Two of the vacant units totalling 6,288 are under offer to an existing occupier which is moving up from 3,444 sq ft. The space being vacated already has firm interest from a new company to the site. The other two vacant units totalling 4,192 sq ft are currently under offer for sale to another local company which is looking to purchase the properties as part of its expanding regional operation. Once all these lettings and sales are concluded the estate will be fully let.
In addition, a previously unused area of the estate has been used to create a 0.21 acre open storage compound which has been let on a five year term to local skip hire company, Belford Brothers, for skip storage. Prominently situated on Longbridge Hayes Road, Queensway Industrial Estate lies adjacent to the A500 providing occupiers with easy, direct access onto the arterial route leading to the Potteries and Newcastle-under-Lyme, plus J15 and J16 of the M6.
Andrew Cox, St. Modwen’s development surveyor on these schemes commented: “We are delighted to report a positive first quarter of 2011 in the region. Fenton Trade Park has continued to generate consistent interest over the past year culminating in 100 per cent occupation this month. This growing market demand has been reflected in the swift take up of vacant space at Queensway Industrial Estate at the other end of the city where demand for industrial properties appears to be equally strong. Interest in St. Modwen’s Design & Build opportunities in the region has also increased over recent weeks and we are currently in serious discussions regarding potential new properties on our Etruria Valley and Trentham Lakes developments.
“We believe these encouraging levels of interest are due to our ongoing innovative approach to marketing, taking into consideration current economic conditions. St Modwen is able to tailor deals to the occupier’s requirements on either a lease or sale basis. It is a formula that continues to work for both parties and an approach we are taking across all of our developments in Staffordshire in order to continue to support the local economy.”