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Take-up of industrial space surges along A14 as Freeport East attracts international firms

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A surge in the take-up of large industrial units along the eastern stretch of the A14 leading to the Port of Felixstowe is being driven by international firms attracted to the area by the launch of the Freeport East initiative. Take-up of large industrial units (over 100,000 sq ft) in the East of England rose to a record 2.91 million sq ft in the first half - up 223% up on the period last year and more than five times the long-term annual average - according to a Big Shed Briefing report from agent Savills. Key deals across the region in the first half saw retailer The Range take a large freehold building at the Gateway 14 scheme in Stowmarket, and online retailer Yours Clothing taking space at Orton 130 in Peterborough. Since the Freeport East was announced in March, Savills has seen increased enquiries from a wide range of occupiers looking to take advantage of the various tax breaks and benefits of the designated locations. Phil Dennis, director in the Eastern region industrial team at Savills, said: “…. The influx of international and European requirements are no doubt a result of the Freeport East announcement, which has helped fuel demand along the eastern stretch of the A14 corridor, a location that historically was not considered a core industrial & logistics market.” Most of the space taken up has involved ‘build-to-suit’ deals often with international firms seeking to boost the resilience of their supply chain transactions. Speculative development has also increased with five units currently under construction on schemes including Jaynic’s Suffolk Park, Equation and BentallGreekOak’s Orwell Logistics Park in Felixstowe and Firethorn’s Peterborough South. But the vacancy rate of industrial space in the region remains just under 3 per cent and rents are continuing to rise. Driven by overseas requirements, rents for Grade A space is now at £8 per sq ft, up a third on the first half of last year and forecast to rise 5.2 per cent pa over the next five years.

Photo: A ground breaking ceremony at the Gateway 14 scheme near Stowmarket in April with Cllr Suzie Morley (leader, Mid Suffolk District Council) and Gateway 14 Chair Sir Christopher Haworth, Freeport East acting CEO Mark Taylor (3rd from left) and acting chair George Kieffer (4th from left).

Last Updated ( Monday, 18 July 2022 10:44 )