Green light for 661,000 sq ft Co-op RDC

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National logistics specialist, db symmetry, has been granted planning consent for a new 661,000 sq ft regional distribution centre, to be developed for the Co-op at Symmetry Park, Biggleswade.

Tritax Big Box REIT is funding the £90 million development. This represents the first pre-let development from the db Symmetry strategic land portfolio acquired by Tritax in February 2019. Contracts were originally exchanged between db Symmetry and The Co-op Food Group in November 2018, conditional on full planning consent.

The announcement comes after the developer agreed a new 20-year lease at the end of last year with the food retailer. The Co-op has confirmed it will be investing over £30 million on the fit out of the frozen, chilled and ambient depot which is expected to be fully operational by the beginning of 2022. The new facility will support the Co-op’s ambitions for continued growth across London, the South and South East.

Andy Perry, supply chain & logistics director at the Co-op, said: “The infrastructure and site selection will deliver greater agility, scale and efficiency – improving service and availability at existing stores while building capacity to support our store investment programme and ambitions for continued growth. The new site will provide greater scale while future-proofing our operations. The move will reduce road miles and overall supply chain costs while supporting our new and existing stores in the South and South East of England by having more of our products closer to our members and customers and the communities in which they live and work.”

The development will comprise a new purpose-built RDC with an eaves height of 15 metres and a gross internal floor area of 661,000 sq ft on a site of c.50 acres, representing a low site cover of c.35 per cent.

Symmetry Park at Biggleswade, which DBS acquired in summer 2017, is an extension of an existing logistics park which has a critical mass of occupiers. The site has excellent road connectivity, situated just off the A1, 45 miles north of Central London and 29 miles north of the M25 (Junction 23). The area benefits from an appropriately skilled and flexible labour supply within close proximity, which underpins the appeal of the area as an increasingly important UK distribution location.

Upon practical completion of the construction, currently targeted for Q1 2021, the occupier will take up a new 20-year lease, subject to five yearly upward-only rent reviews indexed to the Retail Prices Index (collared at 2 per cent pa and capped at 4 per cent pa). It is anticipated that construction will commence towards the end of 2019.

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