Occupancy milestone for Follingsby follows surge in online shopping

A leading Tyneside business park has achieved 100% occupancy for the first time in its c.20 year history, demonstrating the healthy state of the region’s industrial property market.

Fuelled by the ever increasing demand for online retail solutions, the latest letting at Follingsby Park has seen postal delivery firm Whistl take its third unit on the estate.

The 21,300 sq.ft space on the Gateshead park, which has been owned by LGIM Real Assets (Legal & General) since 2014, will be used to fulfil internet orders as a rise in online shopping fuels the need for warehousing and logistics centres.

The 110-acre park, which has more than 50 industrial units ranging in size from 4,000 to 135,000 sq.ft, 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.”

Edgar Seligman, director at JLL, asset manager for Folllingsby Park said: “We have c.1m sq.ft. of commercial accommodation set within a secure landscape which has helped us to attract brands such as Whistl, Fed Ex and Ikea.

“Over the past six years we have seen rents increase by around 25% as a result of the investment in the park and the healthy state of the North East market.”

Two final development sites now offer design and build opportunities for companies wishing to make Follingsby Park their home.

Commenting on the development opportunities, Alex Waterworth, head of industrial at the UK Property Fund at Legal & General said: “We have planning permission for an additional 80,000 sq.ft. and hope to secure consent soon for a new 47,650 sq.ft. unit. These sites enable us to build bespoke commercial facilities with the benefit of Enterprise Zone status for organisations who can move onto a fully established business park.”

“We have great confidence in the North East as a strong industrial market place and we are delighted that our commitment to Follingsby Park has been rewarded with this latest milestone.”