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A defining year for Northampton by Richard Baker of Prop-Search

wantspacegotspace.co.uk - A defining year for Northampton By Richard Baker of Prop-SearchNorthampton town centre is in the midst of its ‘Big Six’ multi-million pound transformation with the next 12 months being a defining period in which new local landmarks will start to rise.

The first of the ‘Big Six’ schemes is the Northampton ‘Castle’ Railway Station project.  This will provide an iconic gateway to the town, offering better facilities, capacity and station services.  

During 2013, work on the £20m development commenced, with later phases of the development to include a 1,270 space multi-storey car parking and a 300,000 sq ft commercial scheme.

St Peter’s Waterside marks a new beginning for the town’s waterside area.  It will include landmark office development and cranes will become visible on the skyline in 2013/14 with both demolition and construction works starting on site.  To deliver this scheme there has been a number of compulsory purchaser orders and a capital investment of £6.4m.  The Innovation Centre, which is being delivered with the University of Northampton will signal the start of commercial development.

The Avon Nunn Mills scheme is expected to breathe new life into the brownfield sites which includes a derelict factory that was previously occupied by Avon Cosmetics, as well as a disused power station.  

The proposed redevelopment of the Grosvenor Shopping Centre will provide a modern retail experience in the town centre, however, this will not be possible until the Greyfriars Bus Station is demolished.  Construction of the new Bus Interchange is already underway and discussions are continuing between Northampton Borough Council and Legal & General for redevelopment the Grosvenor Centre.

Northampton’s emerging cultural quarter, the St John’s scheme will include a new hotel and student accommodation complex.  It is hoped that construction of the hotel will commence later this year, with a later phase including a new office development.  Neighbouring the St John’s scheme, Project Angel is a proposed major office development with the potential to accommodate 2,500 office workers.  Plans, likely to be submitted in a formal application early next year, will also include a new public square.

Alongside these regeneration projects, there has been a reasonable take up of existing commercial space, however as in previous years, the progression of the market has been hindered by the lack of quality supply.

This is demonstrated by the return of the ‘Built to Suit’ market - whereby developers are constructing new buildings to meet the individual occupier’s requirements as opposed to constructing buildings on a speculative basis - as would have occurred in better market conditions.  In the poorest market conditions no buildings were being developed on either a speculative or design and build basis!

The most significant transaction to have been concluded this year in the town is the acquisition of a 16 acre site, with a freehold facility made up of a 64,000 sq ft cross-dock warehouse - as well as a 114,000 sq ft contract warehouse - which has a further 21,000 sq ft of office accommodation over two storeys at Brackmills.  Dachser is acquiring the facility for a new integrated logistics centre - contracts have been signed and the project is expected to be completed in March next year.

Once again the key to Northampton’s future development will be the unlocking of key sites for development within the all commercial sectors.

Posted by The Editor (wantspacegotspace) on 31st May 2013 (updated 09/06/2013)

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