The first unit at Link 9, a major employment development in Bicester has been sold to a key local employer. British Bakels has pre-purchased a 80,000 sq ft building on the Link 9 scheme in Skimmingdish Lane, which it will use as an additional distribution facility to support its main manufacturing operation in Granville Way. Developer Albion Land will start construction on-site shortly with British Bakels set to move in during early summer 2018.
Tom Barton, director at agents VSL & Partners, said: “That the sale is to such a well-known local employer is a fantastic vote of confidence in this new scheme and also in Bicester as a key growth location for business. We look forward to welcoming more companies of this calibre as occupier interest levels are high and the development is set to progress quickly.”
The move will allow bakery ingredients specialists British Bakels to accommodate all its warehousing requirements in its own premises, replacing facilities currently rented from a third party. Longer term the new building gives Bakels the ability to expand its production facilities at its existing site in Granville Way. Since commencing operations in Bicester in 1990 employee numbers have increased to 200 and Bakels continues to have ambitious growth plans. As part of the Cherwell Local Plan, which seeks to deliver jobs-led growth, Link 9 was the first in Bicester to achieve planning consent for large distribution and manufacturing buildings in addition to offices and research and development.
Albion Land’s confidence in the project is demonstrated by its announcement that it will also be developing seven speculative units totaling 146,000 sq ft which will be ready in early summer 2018. Individual units will be available from 13,000 sq ft up to 32,000 sq ft although units can be combined to create larger sizes. These units will be available on new leases at rents from £7.50 per sq ft and the development will be known as Network@Link 9.
Land with planning permission for a further 300,000 sq ft remains available for leasehold or freehold bespoke occupier development.
Bicester is an historic market town with major ambitions for growth which include a £70m town-centre redevelopment, an extension to Bicester Village and a new town centre rail connection to both London Marylebone and Birmingham. The new ‘Garden City’ status will also provide at least 13,000 additional homes and it is projected to double the town’s current 30,000 population.
Albion Land is one of the most active commercial developers in the region. Simon Parsons a director of Albion Land said: “We are delighted to get Link 9 off to a flying start by signing this important deal with a significant employer, British Bakels. Occupier enquiry levels are strong and this has given us the comfort to go ahead with the Network development of seven speculative units which will form the second phase of the Link 9 project.”
Clive Thompson, partner at Brown & Co in Banbury, acting on behalf of purchasers British Bakels, said: “British Bakels chose Link 9 due to its close proximity to its existing production and warehouse facility at Granville Way Bicester and due to excellent communications and improving labour pool offered by Bicester’s expansion. The new facility when completed will relieve storage pressure at Granville Way and enable them to re house storage from rented accommodation in Murdock Rd. British Bakels has expansion plans in the town and this will provide more jobs in the long term. However, 40,000 sq ft surplus space will be let out by Brown & Co initially.”