It has been a very encouraging start to 2019 in Ayrshire, where the industrial market has continued to improve with demand having increased for all size ranges and record rental levels being achieved. The market continues to be positive despite the political uncertainty in the UK and Scotland, however, this does not appear to be dampening occupier demand for properties.
Graham + Sibbald have enjoyed an extremely successful start to 2019, with seven new lettings and sales in Ayrshire within the first week of January, which has continued on a positive trend throughout the first quarter of the year. A number of our key instructions are performing well, will demand now starting to outstrip supply. The agency teams (based in our Ayr and Kilmarnock offices) provide the largest dedicated agency team within Ayrshire covering the industrial, office, retail and development sectors, supported by our specialist teams within the Planning, Hotel + Leisure and Petroleum + Roadside sectors.
In recent weeks, the positive announcement of the Ayrshire Growth Deal being by National and Local Government award to North, East and South Ayrshire Councils who, together with private sector partners, are developing a regeneration plan to transform the economic and property landscape of Ayrshire over the next 20-year period. A number of key Growth Deal projects are already well on their way, and Graham + Sibbald are proud to be appointed by North Ayrshire Council to undertake the agency and marketing on their i3 Enterprise Area buildings at Annickbank Innovation Campus, Irvine and i3 Gateway Building within the Strategic Investment Campus, Irvine which are aimed to attract innovation and life science companies to locate to these purpose-built facilities which all benefit from the Enterprise Area status incentives and significant opportunities.
Within East Ayrshire, The HALO Master planned development close to Kilmarnock town centre and adjacent to new purpose-build Ayrshire College Campus, proposes to provide significant mixed us new-build development, including state of the art innovation space which will complement the other developments throughout Ayrshire. Graham + Sibbald have provided advice in respect of The HALO development and are excited for the future of the project as the physical development commences within short course. The proposals for the South Ayrshire area surrounding Prestwick Airport, where the proposals are to create the UK’s first ever Spaceport which has been received by the local area with great excitement. The development market consider this will produce great opportunity for the creation and development of additional industrial accommodation within an area which is currently a popular industrial, leisure and retail destination.
One sector which has shown new invigoration throughout 2018 and into 2019 surrounds the residential development sector, where we have been actively involved in the successful marketing, disposal and acquisition of a number of residential development sites throughout Ayrshire with a number of the major house builders. Since the property market downturn in 20087, the residential development market within Ayrshire has stagnated, with an overall lack of confidence from developers to progress new developments through the Ayrshire area. Slowly over the past three years the light has been turned back on and in particular, within the last twelve months, we note a competitive marketplace from purchasers/developers now re-emerging.
Graham + Sibbald has recently concluded the sale of the former Ayrshire College Kilmarnock Campus, which has been acquired by Barratt Homes to undertake and exiting new residential development close to the town centre site. There are a number of other residential developments throughout Ayrshire which we are actively involved in promoting, together with collaboration with our Planning department in order to promote these sites through the planning process. The developer confidence will undoubtedly filter though to the other residential and commercial sectors, which will provide further exciting opportunity for the Ayrshire areas.
Development proposals within South Ayrshire are also progressing, with an exciting new large-scale master planned development at Corton, South East Ayr. The site extending to 51 Ha (126 Acres) has Planning Permission in principle for a mixed-use development including up to 750 residential units, office + business space, retail and petrol filling station, education and neighbourhood centre including hotel, public house, shop units and a park + ride facility. Graham + Sibbald have advised the developer in respect of the scheme, which should provide further positive stimulus to the local area throughout 2019.
Article published in Commercial Property Monthly