Lack of warehouses could hit Bristol’s growth, warn experts

August 12, 2011

Bristol is suffering from a shortage of large distribution buildings following the letting of one of the last major warehouses in the city, according to property experts.

Distribution firm JJ Food Service has taken a 35,000 sq ft unit at the Cobden Centre at Emersons Green as part of its nationwide chain of food distribution depots.

That leaves Bristol with virtually no buildings of that size available at present and a risk that logistics firms will be forced to look elsewhere when setting up large distribution depots, says Jonathan Allen, distribution and warehouse specialist at Colliers International in Bristol, who brokered the JJ Food Service deal.

Bristol, with its position on the M4/M5 interchange, is a prime location for large distribution centres, but it is increasingly competing against towns like Swindon, Bridgwater and Chepstow.

“With no speculative development going on, there is a real danger of the city losing out on distribution business in the future,” said Mr Allen.

“We have seen three years when developers have been reluctant to commit to new schemes and in that time the prime space has almost all been taken up. With JJ Food Service taking this space, we are fast running out of good quality units.”

He called for the creation of an area in Bristol with special incentives to attract distribution and warehouse occupiers in the same way as the city’s new Enterprise Zone will aim to stimulate the small office market.

JJ Food Service, which started with a 3,000 sq ft warehouse in North London in 1988, has grown to become a national operator. It will use the Emerson Green depot to service Bristol’s wholesale and restaurant food trade.


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