New lettings point to confidence in the North East property sector

North East business and industrial parks have been given a boost following a hat-trick of deals.

Gateshead based Follingsby Park has now achieved 100% occupancy for the first time in its 20-year history following its latest letting, with postal delivery firm Whistl taking its third unit on the estate.

Driven by demand for online retail solutions, Whistl will fulfil internet orders from a new 21,300 sqft space on the park, which has been owned by institutional investor Legal & General (LGIM Real Assets) since 2014.

The 110-acre park, which has more than 50 industrial units ranging in size from 4,000 to 135,000 sqft, has seen £12m invested in new developments, improvements to the power supply, building refurbishments and estate management initiatives such as new signage, a public-access defibrillator and the introduction of beehives.

Joint letting agents HTA Real Estate and Cushman & Wakefield have racked up 23 new lettings since L&G’s acquisition, including the 2018 pre-let of a 135,000 sq.ft space to TOR Coatings.

Nick Atkinson, director at HTA Real Estate said: “It’s incredibly rare for such a large industrial park to reach full occupancy and this is the first time it has happened since I became involved with Follingsby in 2004.

“This is a clear indication of the strength of the industrial market, despite the impact of the current pandemic on the wider economy. Follingsby Park has always been a popular location for warehousing and distribution, but its power supply, accessibility and amenities are also proving very attractive to manufacturers.”

Meanwhile in Seaham, County Durham, property consultany Avison Young acted on behalf of the Trustees of 2006/2007 Regent Capital 4+5 Syndicate to secure the investment sale of Spectrum 4 at Spectrum Business Park to a London based private investor.

Spectrum 4 is a 35,012 sqft building was let in 2019 for 15 years to Believe Housing, the social housing provider for Durham County Council, after investing £1.5m on fitting out the building for the tenant.

Paul Wellstead, developer of Spectrum Business Park, said: “The last 12 months have been very busy indeed. With take-up over the period reaching 82,000 sqft the momentum created at this desirable out of town location is continuing.

“Securing the investment sale of Spectrum 4 marks another milestone and this building has become an occupier showcase for how the post-Covid office environment has evolved and adapted to agile, flexible working.”

Simon Beanland, principal at Avison Young added: “As anticipated, there was strong market interest in this well let investment property and we are pleased with the price achieved for this high specification office building.”

Also in Seaham, a 41,135 sq ft warehouse has been snapped up in an industrial investment by a private investor for £2.75m, after a competitive bidding process.

The warehouse sits on a 3.5-acre site at Foxcover Distribution Park and is currently let to family-run construction and infrastructure company Robertson, by its timber engineering arm for a further three years.

It was built by Robertson Group in 2003 and it has been in occupation since construction. Cushman & Wakefield acted on behalf of the vendor, a syndicate represented by asset manager Keills, and it has been acquired by a private investor represented by Simon Harland of MHPI Limited.

Gagan Jagpal, senior surveyor at Cushman & Wakefield in Newcastle said: “Despite the current turbulent economic backdrop this transaction demonstrates investor confidence in North East industrial market. Strong fundamentals and a dearth of opportunities are fuelling rental growth with investors recognising the value that exists within the region.”

Coreena Ford, Business Live

Richard Scott
07787 697 757

Tom Asher
07738 144 646

Nick Atkinson
07787 697 757

Russell Taylor
07710 735 566