Five years ago, James and James Fulfilment moved its growing e-commerce business to Northampton and Hadland Chartered Surveyors negotiated that property deal with them on premises within the Brackmills Industrial Estate. Late last year, Hadlands were at the heart of another deal with James and James on considerably larger new premises on the same estate, as the e-commerce firm continues its rapid growth.
Peter Castle, Managing Director of Hadlands, said:
“James and James were originally based in Cambridge but felt that their needs would be better served in Northampton, the logistics hub of the UK. We secured them as tenants for long-standing clients Accuride International in early 2016. James and James had ambitious growth plans that meant the 133,000 square foot unit was far bigger than they immediately needed. We helped them fill surplus space by introducing local businesses with short-term storage needs until they were ready to use the space themselves. Their growth projections have not only been realised but exceeded and late last year Hadlands were delighted to help them take the next big step into 197,000 square feet at Liberty 196.”
Liberty 196, a gateway building at the entrance to Brackmills, is owned by Prologis, represented by Burbage Realty and DTRE. Prologis were happy to tailor the logistics unit to the people-orientated needs of James and James’ specialist e-commerce operation by undertaking significant fit-out works to the building, including the creation of class-leading staff welfare facilities and office areas.
James Hyde, CEO and co-founder of James and James, said:
“We came to Northampton from Cambridge in 2016 because we wanted to be closer to major transport routes and courier hubs and with the help of Hadlands we’ve been able to make that work. We are delighted to be moving into Liberty 196 and the opportunities that brings for further growth.”
The acquisition is indicative of a shift in emphasis from traditional town centre to out-of-town business parks, reflecting changing retail habits. The lack of available commercial space, however, is bringing new challenges.
“Retaining James and James in Northampton with the hundreds of associated jobs is a big deal for the town. We have another client with similar requirements but there is now very little available stock. Hadlands have always been a Northamptonshire-centric business. We don’t want key employers migrating to other parts of the UK.”
Hadland Chartered Surveyors was founded in 1983 and has been headed up by Peter for the last 10 years. It lists some of the county’s leading businesses among its clients and provides commercial property advice including valuations, purchase and lease negotiations, and development appraisals, as well as commercial estate agency. As members of The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) the firm is backed by the industry’s governing body and are Registered Valuers for many SIPP pension schemes.
Elliott Halliwell joined Hadlands in 2017. He has a Masters in Property Investment giving him a depth of specialist knowledge to help clients weigh up the relative strengths and weaknesses of investment opportunities brought to the market.
“The events of 2020 have set in motion macro-economic forces which are now having a significant growth and fast-moving impact on local property values. The industrial, office, retail and residential sectors are all performing differently. We have seen some very big wins for those holding the right stock over the last 12 months. The challenge now is predicting when to stick or twist or whether the performance of alternative forms of investment means it’s time to play a completely different game. Our aim is to provide quality advice to buyers and sellers, owners and occupiers to make sure their needs are met, tailoring the service to suit their specific needs, whether individual or corporate clients.”
Peter Castle added:
“Although we talk about a shortage of available stock, we see that as a positive situation to be in, that there is strong demand from companies looking to move to Northamptonshire or build on their existing business here and investors wanting to buy into that trend. But if the county is going to keep moving forward, we need to see development to meet demand. It is evident that the economic landscape is changing and while that’s not so good for our town centres, logistics and e-commerce will continue to grow and we need to be able to accommodate that demand if Northamptonshire is going to remain a leading player in the sector.”