Speculative industrial development is making a welcome return to the part of Cambridgeshire clustered around the Huntingdon area. Property agents who specialise in the industrial sector and whose vocabulary is peppered with references to racking, eaves height, hard standing, roller shutters and mezzanine floor fit out options are welcoming the sight of steel frames being erected once more.
The return of industrial speculative development in any area should also be welcomed by wider business audiences too. It is a testament to the current prosperity of the area and also an indication of development-investor confidence in the area's future.
Huntingdon, in modern times, is an industrial hub when it comes to warehousing and distribution operations as it is a pivotal point from which all roads can lead round the compass of the UK. The north is covered via the A1(M) and also onward via the A14 west to the M6/M1 interchange; south via the A14 and M11 and then the A14 east to the Suffolk and Essex sea ports and the world beyond UK shores.
With the A14 improvements in the Cambridge to Huntingdon corridor and also the bypass around the town - as well as the expansive development of the former airbase at Alconbury off the A1(M) in the corridor to Peterborough - Huntingdon is perfectly poised for take-off in consolidating its property offering to the industrial sector and those businesses in complementary and support services sectors.
Much as in residential estate agency, location is the main driver when it comes to commercial property. Our 24/7 shop, click and collect - or deliver -appetite apparently knows no limits and this is witnessed by the growth of logistics businesses. All those goods need to be stored and delivered to our homes from somewhere. Ideally, a location close to a good road network and a willing workforce.
But good location is just one of a combination of drivers behind speculative development in the industrial sector in this part of Eastern England.
Another driver is a growing shortage of supply to meet demand. The way modern businesses in the industrial sector trade and conduct their business with suppliers and customers has changed markedly in recent years and many older buildings just can't service modern commercial property expectations.
In the Huntingdon area, good quality, modern industrial floor space is in short supply. Any property shortage means an increase in sale price and those in a position to invest and develop to plug that gap can do so profitably.
An additional benefit to occupiers and agents alike is that speculative development increases the churn of older stock. New build stock means that ‘second-hand' floor space comes in to play in a market place when the parties move on from older stock to buy freeholds or lease the brand new builds, leaving their existing premises to sell or to let.
Barker Storey Matthews is marketing two new speculatively built schemes in Huntingdon by commercial property developer Barnack Estates Ltd: Falcon Court and Kingfisher Court, both on Hinchingbrooke Business Park. At Falcon Court - which is currently under construction - four of the six units are under offer and there's strong interest registered in another sale.
The Huntingdon industrial hub effect extends to the nearby Cambridgeshire market town of St Ives too where we have developers looking at two sites in the area to bring forward to construct small industrial units for sale or to let.
Colleagues in Peterborough also confirm that 42 per cent of the available space - that's 30,000 sq ft - is under offer at Newark East which is the first speculative industrial development for almost a decade in the Eastern Industry part of that Cambridgeshire city.
For more information about industrial units to buy or let in the Huntingdon area of Cambridgeshire, contact Richard Adam on 01480 451578.