North American investors drive ‘big box’ demand

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DEMAND for “big box” warehouses across Scotland is predicted to grow strongly this year as North American investors broaden their horizons, according to property consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).

The firm said demand for grade-A industrial property during the second half of 2012 was twice as high as the first six months of the year, and firms from Canada and the US were poised to buy up more units on this side of the Atlantic.

JLL said the 117,000sq ft Titan warehouse at Centralpoint in North Lanarkshire was expected to attract attention from distribution and manufacturing firms this year. Centralpoint is part of the Eurocentral business park off the M8, where Stapletons Tyre Services took up more than 71,000sq ft last year.

According to JLL’s latest report into the health of the “big box” market for units larger than 100,000sq ft, overall take-up of grade-A space across the UK fell 9 per cent to 11.9 million sq ft last year. However, it said the market improved towards the end of 2012, driven by demand from retailers, and availability fell by 15 per cent during the final six months of the year.

Neil Cockburn, lead director at JLL in Glasgow, said: “The 
diminishment of the ‘fiscal cliff’ scenario in the US will see 
increased activity from the large corporates and mean investors are more confident to move outside North America.

“The corporate world has been in limbo for three years, but there are strong signs now that things are starting to move.”