The location of the West Midlands' largest rail-served distribution park has won a favourable third party endorsement by a leading freight industry figure.
IM Properties' 372-acre Birch Coppice Business Park - the largest rail-linked distribution park alongside the M42 north of Birmingham - falls within an area described as the "sweet spot" of distribution locations by Richard Turner, chief executive of the Freight Transport Association.
In his opening address at the recent Logistics by Location Conference organised in association with the Industrial Agents Society, Mr Turner warned the Government that the capacity of Britain's roads were now super-saturated and creating an extremely unstable future for the country's distribution businesses.
On the subject of the M6 toll road, Britain's first privately funded pay-as-you-go motorway, Mr Turner said that the area around the M6 toll road and the M42 close to Birmingham was the sweet spot for distribution companies seeking to locate new logistics centres.
Mr Turner stressed that the distribution business was growing year on year by ten per cent, the equivalent of #100 million. At the same time, many major players believed the Government's ten-year transport plan was already failing and was in danger of restricting future business development.
Birch Coppice Business Park - at junction ten of the M42 motorway, at a strategic corner of the Golden Triangle - has seen a multi-million investment in rail infrastructure to meet Government requirements to encourage freight from road to rail.
Mike Eagleton, of Birmingham-based Eagleton & Co, responsible for marketing the huge Birch Coppice scheme, admitted that the task of installing a rail terminal was not without its problems.
"There are few developers willing to forward fund the massive cost of building rail links and marshalling yards. Birch Coppice puts IM Properties in that exclusive league and demonstrates their commitment to the freight industry's requirements and to Government policy," he said.
Birch Coppice has kicked off its development with a 40-acre rail-served international distribution hub for TNT Logistics. Plots up to 24.5 acres are being marketed on phase one of the scheme, which has capacity for a million sq ft of distribution, manufacturing and office space.
Another commercial property agent, Richard Bache, shares the FTA's upbeat view about prospects for Golden Triangle.
According to Mr Bache, the combination of optimum access to the UK's road network as well as proximity to Birmingham city centre and the West Midlands workforce, means the Golden Triangle continues to command the highest rentals and freehold prices for industrial and distribution property in the region. Although increasingly rare, freeholds of large industrial units continue to be highly sought after - particularly in the Golden Triangle - as, even with an increase in interest rates on the horizon, manufacturers, distribution companies and developers are still keen to buy.
BK has just brought one such freehold property on to the market and Mr Bache believes it will not remain on his books for long. Unit 3 NexusPoint, Holford Industrial Park is a new instruction for sole agents BK - the brief being to dispose of the freehold of a 28,578 sq ft warehouse with offices, for immediate occupation.
"Unit 3 NexusPoint is as rare as hen's teeth," said Mr Bache, associate and industrial and distribution property and development specialist in the Birmingham office of BK. "Potential industrial or distribution occupiers will be hard pressed to find another similar freehold, which is immediately available with vacant possession in such a strong central location."
Unit 3 Nexus Point is two years old and stands two miles north of junction six of the M6, just three miles away from Birmingham city centre on an established industrial park, close to other occupiers such as AAH Pharmaceuticals, Universal Office Supplies and Smith and Nephew.
"In addition to the benefit of low interest rates, developers are already looking ahead two years to the opening of the M6 Toll and the freeing up of traffic flow on the M6 itself, making land purchases for industrial development within the Golden Triangle even more attractive," said Mr Bache.
As a contrast to the freehold market, Mr Bache points out that the leasehold market is still cautious. Although the Golden Triangle still leads the way in rental values, commanding rents of more than #6?per sq ft around Birmingham Airport, occupiers continue to move slowly.
"Because of the emphasis in freeholds, we are unlikely to see an increase in rents before the end of the year," said Mr Bache.Birch Coppice Business Park... at a strategic corner of the Golden TriangleFew developers are willing to forward fund the massive cost of building rail links and marshalling yards