Frank Marshall Estates, one of West Yorkshire’s leading property development companies, is looking to roll out its pioneering and highly successful Nano Park concept into Kirklees.
The Nano Park model creates small but perfectly formed employment space, providing an ideal base for small and fledgling companies as well as satellite operations for larger firms.
Each Nano Park creates at least 70 jobs, providing a timely and crucial boost to the local economy.
A flourishing 12,000 sq ft Nano Park has already been developed by Frank Marshall Estates in Bradford, with other similar parks in the pipeline in Armley, Skipton and Wakefield.
Jimmy Marshall, director of Frank Marshall Estates, explained: “The astounding success of our ground-breaking Nano Park in Bradford, which is completely full, has encouraged us to repeat the model elsewhere in Yorkshire.
“We are now looking specifically at Kirklees, which is an excellent Yorkshire location, given its skilled labour force and its outstanding transport links, notably the proximity of the M62.”
Mr Marshall, who lives in Huddersfield, explained: “The Nano Park model is based on flexible, affordable and attractive business space in locations where companies want to be. This could be in an attractive setting, a great location or a site with superb transport links.
“We provide small units, normally about 860 sq ft, per floor over two floors. The ground floor is classic industrial space so can be used for storage, garaging, workshop, laboratory, and manufacturing, basically whatever a customer needs.
“The first floor is a fully-fitted out office, designed to a very high modern standard and with a contemporary feel. We can see a gap in the business space market where not all occupiers want just five or 10 per cent of office space in their unit. We believe we are offering the new option for a more internet-based world, where a quality office is part of the space needed.
“Finally, we believe both the new start-ups post-Covid and the existing SMEs need a quality location to work from, attractive space they are happy to bring customers to, great locations where there is access to the whole region, and a nice external environment with plenty of parking, nice views and some greenery to look at.
“We target start-up, SME and satellite operations for larger companies. There is a very limited supply of modern space for this sector of the economy in Kirklees right now and the need for this type of space is increasingly important in the current economic climate.
“We were astounded at the success of our first Nano Park in Bradford. We built it and the units absolutely flew,” he said. “We’ve never let an estate so quickly. This has encouraged us to roll out the model across the Yorkshire region and then potentially across the whole country.”
One reason Jimmy Marshall thinks the first park proved such a hit with tenants is the flexible leases offered – the company will consider anything from two years to 20 years – and the affordable rents: they cost about £17,000 a year. The office space is larger than normal compared with similarly sized industrial units, which is also a major bonus.
“We know that there is a real need for units of this size in Kirklees. We are in the age of the entrepreneur with more and more small and start-up companies looking for self-contained space of their own. We are now providing flexible, affordable and attractive business premises to help companies of this type to grow and prosper. We believe they will be snapped up.”
At the same time, Jimmy Marshall believes that a Nano Park offers potential for larger businesses to establish a smaller satellite operation on flexible terms. This helps them serve project-specific needs or to test uncertain projects, which may be research and development-based and therefore may not warrant a full satellite office.
Significantly, the 2014 Kirklees Economic Strategy (KES) has performance measures linked to the enhancement of opportunity for business start-ups. It notes that Kirklees is relatively entrepreneurial and, at times, has had higher start-up rates than the wider City Region. However, it also has lower start-ups than the UK average. This harms local growth and reduces the benefits for the local economy.
The Economic Strategy seeks to address this in order to create more jobs and more wealth. Making provision to support this type of business will enhance Kirklees’ performance against this measure and help to deliver the objectives of the economic strategy.
Mr Marshall explained: “In the light of the region’s Economic Strategy, we believe Kirklees is a key target market for our innovative product. So we are looking very carefully at identifying a site, which will be the perfect location for a Kirklees Nano Park. This site will need to have good access to larger existing employment locations; good access to the motorway network; and good access to broadband”.
Jimmy Marshall added: “We are extremely excited about finding the perfect site in Kirklees for our Nano Park. We have a couple of options in the pipeline that have been exceedingly hard to find, but we are working hard to make them a reality. It will be a win-win situation, kick-starting the region’s economy and providing new opportunities for post-Covid/post-Brexit recovery. We can’t wait to get started.”