FI Real Estate’s Rob Woolley on his firm’s new development project in East Durham. In this issue’s What’s Trending Now, we chat to Rob Woolley, Asset Manager at FI Real Estate Management, about their latest development at Gemini Point on Bracken Hill Business Park…
EDB: Tell us more about the Gemini Point development: RW: Gemini Point is in Bracken Hill Business Park and comprises of 54,000 sq ft of new build industrial units. These range in size from 5,000 sq ft up to 7,000 sq ft. There are nine new build units available for rent, each with a high, modern spec. We have two of these units under offer with seven currently available at the moment, however we have new tenants lined up for some of these. So we would say if you’re thinking about one of these units for your business, contact us now as we expect demand to increase given our ongoing marketing drive.
EDB: What types of businesses do these units suit? RW: They are ideal for businesses in a wide range of industries, from manufacturing and logistics to sciences and pharmaceuticals.
The eaves are high which makes them ideal for installing full height racking in the space or even installing mezzanine floors.
EDB: They’re available for rent aren’t they? RW: Yes, there are currently 7 units available for rent. Prices start from £7.50 per square foot for the larger units on site.
Our terms are very attractive to potential tenants with great rental incentives which can include rent free periods or discounted rents for the start of the lease to assist with start up costs.
EDB: You’re involved in developments up and down the country. What made you chose this particular site in Peterlee? RW: The amount of property we have in Peterlee is one of the main reasons.
It’s a key location in the North East for us so the chance to add to our portfolio up here was too good to miss. Peterlee has so much to offer to the business community, including excellent transport links, a good spread of businesses and employers located here and a number of trade counter businesses. They are all big selling points for anyone looking to set up industrial space in the town.
EDB: You mentioned Gemini Point isn’t the only development you’re involved with in Peterlee. Tell us more about the others. RW: Next door to Gemini Point on Bracken Hill Business Park we have Wear House, which used to be a 30,000 sq ft office unit. This was owned by Capita and when they vacated the building we created hybrid business units within the space, ranging from 800 sq ft up to 2,000 sq ft of light industrial and office space. We are seeing a really good demand for this space, which we would say is like incubator space to complement Gemini Point. Businesses start off here and then when they grow they move next door into one of the bigger units.
Wear House is currently under development with completion expected in October, though we do have one tenant occupying some space already as they had an immediate requirement for it.
We also have St Aidan’s Court across the road, which is a 60,000 sq ft office building. This space is currently vacant, but we are looking at turning this into flexible office space including high spec serviced offices on the ground floor.
Finally we have Emerald Court, the 70,000 sq ft building which is currently occupied by HMRC. However they are moving out at the end of the year so we are working towards securing a potential tenant. We are always in communication with our agents who are looking at other developments and land which may become available in the area, so watch this space for further news.
EDB: Tell us about FI Real Estate Management. RW: Our headquarters are in Chorley in the North West, at the economic Botany Bay Mill, on the side of the M61. The business employs around 200 people and we are an all encompassing real estate business , offering asset management, property management and facilities management to name a few. We also have FI Construction who have built out our new build sites that includes Gemini Point. Everything is all within one building so we have full control over the whole process.
EDB: What’s in the pipeline in terms of future developments? RW: There is a lot of media interest around interest rates which can create a lot of noise in the market. We build speculatively based on market research. A lot of your investment funds will wait until there is interest for a certain type of property, whereas we do it the other way round and try to get ahead of the curve
Currently there is 0.37 years of industrial stock left in the North East so at some point demand will outstrip the supply. We will therefore keep looking for developments
We, and our agents, believe the North East market is still hot with lots of interest in property and deals progressing to legal.