Race for space on cards in Bristol’s industrial market amid economic woes and shortage of new buildings

February 2, 2024

Take-up in Bristol’s industrial and logistics property market slumped by 36% last year due to a lack of space combined with the impact of macro-economic factors, according to new research.

And while demand remains strong, the market will remain constrained by a lack of buildings that are immediately available.

The latest Market Monitor by regional commercial property firm Alder King reveals that 80% of all space available in Bristol is accounted for by just seven buildings totalling around 2.05m sq ft.

The respected bi-annual report also says, to make the situation worse, around 1.65m sq ft of this is in three buildings that make up Avonmouth’s Panattoni Park, pictured, and Mountpark 360.

As a result, occupiers are struggling to find modern space.

The report shows take-up in and around Bristol was 1.51m sq ft last year, down from 2022’s figure of 2.37m sq ft.

Alder King partner Andrew Ridler said: “The market was constrained by the lack of immediately available space, fallout from the autumn 2022 Budget and uncertainty surrounding the conflicts in the Ukraine and Israel/Gaza.

“Despite these external pressures, demand remains good but more considered.”

He said across the wider region occupiers were increasingly influenced by the availability of labour and power, with location coming next.

“With limited supply, we anticipate increased demand for pre-lets and pre-sales with informed occupiers understanding the need to pay rents which support viability,” he added.

“Affordability for some remains an issue as the rental gap between new and good quality second-hand space has reduced significantly.

“We expect further upward pressure on rents, particularly for those facing their first rent reviews on space acquired in 2018/2019.”

Key transactions last year included Gregory Distribution’s acquisition of the 115,000 sq ft DC115 at Cabot Park and the letting of 55,000 sq ft at St Modwen’s Access 18 to beauty and skincare firm L’Occitane – both in Avonmouth – along with Biker’s acquisition of LaSalle IM’s 44,000 sq ft unit at Patchway Trading Estate.

Much-needed smaller units will come on stream this year following Bristol-based developer Cubex’s acquisition of 2.5 acres at Horizon 38 in Filton and the start of construction on the 24 unit Rockhaven Business Centre at Cabot Park.

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