Shortage of suitable industrial premises risks SME growth

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CGi of the development of 12 new smaller units at Crescent Trade Park Moons Moat Drive, marketed by KWB.

A shortage of smaller modern industrial units is adversely affecting the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the West Midlands, according to a leading industrial property agent.

Kenny Allan, Director of Industrial Agency at Birmingham independent commercial property agency KWB, says that a lack of modern manufacturing and warehouse units is halting expansion plans and threatening future growth at companies across the region.

He says: “A recent report estimated that over the next three years the SME sector in and around Birmingham could see growth of 11% to deliver an annual contribution of some £6.5bn to the economy, but this is being put at risk by a lack of suitable business premises.

“Despite SME’s being the engine room of the British economy, this sector is the most over-looked when it comes to the delivery of new modern industrial units.  Few developers are willing to build units in the 1,500 sq ft to 10,000 sq ft size range where the shortage is greatest, and with as many as one in three businesses looking to relocate at any one time, this is a real problem.

“We have multiple enquiries from companies seeking modern industrial premises which meet their business needs for expansion space, high energy efficiency and better storage and warehousing space with higher eaves heights.  However, the demand far outweighs the number of available units.”

According to Mr Allan, one ray of hope is the Redditch development of 12 new smaller units managed by MacMullen Associates for A & H Construction & Developments at Crescent Trade Park Moons Moat Drive, where work starts on site later this month (May 2017) with completion due in November.

He says: “KWB has been retained with Bromwich Hardy to market the units at the 21,500 sq ft development, which are available in sizes from 1,450 sq ft up to 9,330 sq ft on a leasehold basis, but freehold sales may also be considered on some units.

“This is exactly the sort of modern space which smaller companies in the industrial/warehouse and trade counter market require, in a most prominent location with a landmark drive-thru McDonalds opposite, and we have already started talking to potential occupiers.

“We also continue to talk with local authorities, investors and developers about the opportunities to develop these much needed new industrial units on other sites in the region.”