Largest-ever British warehouse to open in Swindon
Amazon expected to move into 2.32 million sq ft property in £200m deal that is yet another sign of growth and progress for the warehousing industry
Last week was the bearer of major news for the warehousing industry. A deal was struck on the largest single warehouse sale in British history, signalling an influx of jobs over the next few years.
Though the online retail giant is yet to confirm the news, it is believed that Amazon has signed a 20-year lease on a 2.32 million sq ft site near Swindon. The deal, negotiated on behalf of “the world’s largest online retailer” is worth £200 million, according to property developer Panattoni.
The warehouse, at the town’s Symmetry Park industrial estate, will be split across multiple levels, with 600,000 sq ft on the ground floor and three mezzanine floors, measuring more than 500,000 sq ft each. It is expected that the build will be complete by the end of 2021.
Swindon Borough Council leader David Renard has shared his delight at the news, and the prospect of warehousing becoming a more prominent industry in the Wiltshire town. “The new warehouse will bring a lot of jobs to the town and it reinforces my opinion that Swindon will make a success of reinventing itself economically again,” he told the Swindon Advertiser.
Swindon is not the only British town benefitting from the current boom in warehouse jobs, which is being driven by a rise in online shopping that has emerged during the Coronavirus pandemic. About 120 miles north of Symmetry Park, another large warehouse deal has been struck in Stoke-on-Trent.
Electrical retailer AO has been on an expansion drive, having acquired half a million sq ft of new warehousing space across Cheshire and Staffordshire in the past four months, fuelled by an increase in orders but also by a need for more space to facilitate socially distanced working. Its latest acquisition is its largest to date, a 275,000 sq ft warehouse in Stoke-on-Trent’s G-Park.
This new warehouse, AO’s fifth, will bring with it 120 new jobs. Across the whole group, AO is currently spearheading a nationwide recruitment drive with 650 jobs available.
“We’ve really had to act quickly to adapt to an influx in customers following the Covid-19 lockdown,” said David Ashwell, managing director of AO Logistics. “By actively securing more warehousing space and creating hundreds of new, quality jobs in the process, we’re working hard to invest in the future. As a business, we’re proud to provide both an essential service for customers and a safe working environment for our people, with social distancing in place. Our team have continued to adapt to necessary changes and they are taking the swift expansion in their stride. With our latest distribution sites in Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford, we’ve now established a strong logistics hub in the North West.”
These new warehouse commitments by AO and Amazon reflect a wider boom in the industry across Europe. In a recent research report released by property agent Savills, the team has estimated that Europe is expected to see a further demand for 11.6 million sq ft of warehousing space by the end of 2022, driven by companies that serve Europe wishing to keep logistics close to “insulate themselves from future supply chain disruption”.
While many industries are suffering as a result of the pandemic, warehousing is not one of them. In fact, the resulting rise in home deliveries and nearshoring is encouraging investment in the sector that will see it continue to grow and prosper in the decades to come.
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