Search to drop anchor tenant on port to give Hull scheme lift-off

It is one of the largest port development sites in the UK. When fully built out, this 453-acre chunk of land in Hull, which is owned by Associated British Ports (ABP) and has been named Humber International Enterprise Park, could accommodate as much as 6.6m sq ft of industrial space in a series of sheds ranging in size from 30,000 sq ft to 1.5m sq ft.

So what are the chances of the scheme - which launched last month - establishing itself as the pre-eminent industrial park in the region?

ABP has owned the site, which sits next to a BP chemical plant to the east of Hull, for years and has long intended to bring it to market. Dafydd Williams, ABP’s regional head of communications for Humber, says the land has excellent connectivity thanks to its proximity to the company’s port estate, as well as good rail and road links and he believes these multi-modal attributes will act as a draw for tenants.

“We’re looking in particular for a big anchor tenant for the site, someone who will attract other occupiers,” says Williams, citing Siemens, which has built a wind turbine manufacturing plant on a neighbouring site and is helping attract other tenants from related industry sectors.

Based on early interest registered by potential occupiers, the scheme’s agent Scott Morrison, an associate in the logistics and industrial team at Cushman & Wakefield, is confident of securing the large anchor ABP is looking for, thanks to the major improvements made in Hull recently. The arrival of Siemens and Hull’s UK City of Culture status in 2017 have put the city firmly on the map.

Growth funding

“Over the years, it’s gone through some tough times, but we’re now seeing fantastic levels of investment in Hull,” says Morrison.

It’s such a big beast and we’re realistic that it probably won’t be fully occupied in the next two years - Scott Morrison, Cushman & Wakefield

He adds that Hull City Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council are fully behind the plans for the site, which has been granted enterprise zone status and earmarked for local growth funding.

“They both want to see this scheme be successful and they have been very supportive from a planning point of view,” he says, adding that although the initial masterplan includes 6.6m sq ft of shed space, this could change depending on occupier requirements.

“We’ve tried to provide an indicative, realistic vision of what could be built over the lifetime of the development,” says Morrison. “It’s such a big beast and we’re realistic that it probably won’t be fully occupied in the next two years. However, we have already had good interest and we’re talking to a few occupiers. It would be good to land that big occupier to firmly put the scheme on the map.”

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