Larsen Trade Park is now at almost 75 per cent occupancy after owners Avon Capital Estates made a forward looking, partially speculative £4.5m investment which included a rolling £1.5m three-year redevelopment and refurbishment program to improve its quality and attract growing local businesses.

A regional builder’s merchant recently opened to join two national builder’s merchants and businesses ranging from automotive to food to environmental services who already trade there. Overall, the business park has created around 80 to 100 jobs so far.

Now the high-quality hybrid office and industrial units are ‘home’ to successful companies – including:

  • Builders Merchant Company
  • Parts Alliance Group
  • Servion UK
  • Global Food Service Equipment
  • Meir Services
  • Phoenix Signs
  • Graham Plumbing & Heating
  • Jewson Builders’ Merchants
  • Tillery Valley Foods
  • D&P Motor Factors
  • Yorkshire Doors Systems
  • APT Tyre Distributors

Ashley Whittome, co-founder of Avon Capital Estates, believes having access to the docks at Goole and Howden, along with the close proximity to the M62 and major motorway networks and arterial roads, has contributed to the project’s success.

Mr Whittome said: “Without doubt, Goole’s main positive is its location because it is ideally placed for a wide variety of trade and manufacturing businesses.

“Businesses are also attracted by the highly-skilled workforce they can access right on their doorstep – because Goole is a very commutable distance from Hull, the East Riding, Selby, Doncaster and their surrounding areas.

“It’s great to see that Siemens and other big names like Croda Chemicals, Howdens, XPO Logistics and Cemex have chosen to make it their home. It’s a strong, quality, affordable location which offers value for money for our customers – judged both on a UK and local basis.

“From our perspective, the arrival of Siemens and Croda next door to our estate and other big names in the immediate area is a further positive and will drive future economic growth and job creation. It also reinforces our belief in the advantages of this location. At the same time, it’s no surprise to us – we chose Goole because we expect it to grow.”

High-calibre tenants key to success

PPH Commercial currently has principal responsibility for marketing the vacant units at Larsen Trade Park and has been successful in attracting high calibre tenants to the initiative.

Although several units are still available, ranging from 5,000sqft to 10,000sqft, the goal is to achieve 100 per cent occupancy in the near future.

Reflecting on the role PPH has played in the project, Mr Whittome said: “Ben Medhurst’s support, good judgement and ability to work well with our team has been a key reason for our success to date. In particular, his ability to work with my very ‘hands on’ business partner David Saville.

“For our customers to know the owners of the estate – and to know that we are a family business and directly accessible – can be helpful in building the relationships of trust that we aim for.

“Other important members of our team include Michelle Gardner and Sarah Grundy who are responsible for our property management business and Gavin Ritchie and his building surveying team at Gent Visick who were responsible for the redevelopment program.

“Based on the positives I have explained, we took a degree of calculated risk on the project. The estate was in need of significant investment, had a very poor weighted average unexpired lease term (WAULT) and was soon to experience a significant increase in vacancy. Without confidence in our team, in particular the excellent team of professionals at PPH, our investment would not have achieved the success it has so far – and we would not have proceeded with it in the first place.

“Our strategy was to reposition the estate by improving its quality through significant investment, more proactive management and closer relationships with our customers, the tenants.

“Ben bought into our strategy, supported us all the way through and continues to play a very important role in securing and managing tenants. That’s vital because a project like this is not straight forward.”

Further investment on horizon?

Since its launch in 2002, Avon Capital Estates has seen its portfolio grow to include 27 UK industrial or business park estates or properties comprising more than 1.5 milion square feet of lettable space, about 200 units and 140 tenants including Inchcape, Wolseley, Edmundson Electrical and the Royal Mail.

Having been impressed by the success to date of their Goole scheme, Mr Whittome has not ruled out further investment in the Yorkshire and Humber region.

Mr Whittome added: “We are definitely positive about Goole and the East Riding because we recognise that the region offers a high-quality product and good value for money for our tenants – particularly in comparison to neighbouring regional locations.

“It has taken a great deal of work to get Larsen Trade Park right and we still have a lot to do but we’re pleased with progress so far.

“If another acquisition likes this came up in the future, it’s the type of project we'd be very interested in. We believe the Hull and Humber region has a bright future.”

Reflecting on the success of Larsen Trade Park, PPH director Ben Medhurst added: “Goole's success is showing no signs of a slowdown and, as I've stressed before, it remains a very attractive area for growing businesses.

“Ashley, David and the team at Avon Capital deserve a lot of credit for having the confidence and foresight to invest in the town. They spotted its potential as an up-and-coming area several years ago and Larsen Trade Park is a perfect example of this.

“The imminent arrival of Siemens and Croda will attract other occupiers and I'm certain that the town's long-term economic future will be extremely prosperous.”

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