With 400,000 sq ft of warehouse accommodation under construction and with another 600,000 sqft of D&B opportunities still available, Frontier Park in Blackburn, sits comfortably in the premier league of logistics schemes in the North West of England.
However, although this 90-acre site may have been mooted for the last 10 to 15 years, it is only in the last 18 months that this regionally important scheme has made any meaningful progress. It is no coincidence that this change in fortunes fits exactly with a change in ownership.
The site is owned, and the scheme is being developed and funded by Monte Blackburn Ltd, the private property and development vehicle of Zuber and Moshin Issa, Co-CEOs and founders of EG group, the international roadside services group.
Last month, the site officially launched when the new direct access from the Junction 6 (M65) roundabout completed and the BP petrol station, Spar shop, Subway concession and drive thru Greggs opened for business.
Starbucks and KFC drive thrus will also open imminently, providing a strong identity and attractive amenity hub for the 2,000 new employees, that the scheme is expected to attract.
When asked about the scheme, Alex Kenwright, Frontier Park development manager, was keen to point out, that it is result of a mixture of development expertise, understanding and confidence in the market and of course, money, that has resulted in the dramatic changes that have taken place at Frontier Park. “We have developed a strategy that gets the most out of the land but also responds to the region’s demand. We have something for everyone, from smaller 20,000 and 30,000 sq ft units up to 400,000 sq ft and almost everything in between, and what’s more, it is being built now.”
The first of the units (185,000 sq ft FP-One) will be ready before the end of the year, with another 135,300 sq ft completing in the spring and a further 80,000 sq ft being delivered by summer next year.
B8RE, Trevor Dawson and GVA are marketing agents. Andrew Pexton from GVA, hinted that they may already have a deal in solicitors’ hands but would not be drawn further. “We have seen the level of enquires really jump since the steelwork started going up at Frontier Park and now the site is open, interest has peaked again.”
There is also an unconfirmed market rumour about a hotel deal for the site. Full planning consent was granted earlier in the year for a 150 bedroom hotel and conference / banqueting centre. Kenwright commented only, “Watch this space!”
This is not the only site that Monte is developing and the expansion continues across the UK. Monte is in for planning on Frontier Park, Banbury, a 30-acre, half a million sq ft logistics scheme at junction 11 of M40 and is keen to expand this success further. Zuber Issa from Monte said: “In a congested market, Monte offers direct links to a number of brand partners and with streamline decision making and access to capital, we offer a straightforward and no-nonsense development solution that really differentiates us.”