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| herts, beds & bucks


IN MY VIEW S


R Wood & Son has been based in Luton, Bedfordshire since 1981 (35 years) and


throughout that time has specialised in all matters surrounding commercial property. The founder, Stephen R Wood, remains


Director alongside his son, Stephen J Wood, who manages the company on a day to day basis. Stephen Jnr stated “For a little


company in a little town, we transact on a big scale”. One of the major hurdles to overcome


in practice today is the shortage of premises to lease or sell. That said, the shortage of premises is certainly having a positive effect on values from a landlord’s/vendor’s perspective, and over the last 12 months or so there has been a seismic percentage increase in value, typically across the board. Nursery industrial units have recently


been sold achieving the same levels that were achieved before the worldwide crash. Capital values for offices have achieved


the same status, albeit primarily fuelled on the back of PDR. There is now tending to be a shortage of office accommodation suitable for office occupiers, which again is helping to fuel an increase in value. Luton is a multi cultural melting pot and


Stephen J Wood, S.R. Wood & Son


this has positive impacts on the secondary and tertiary retail markets, where Lithuanians, Polish, Sri Lankans, Nigerians etc seek to lease smaller stores to service their communities, thus again having a positive impact on values. If you view Luton from the air you will


note we are built up to our boundary in almost every direction, and very little development land remains available. There appears to be a general conception that Luton Borough Council will allow brown field development for residential purposes, thus leaving the commercial factory/warehouse market short on opportunities to develop, thus there has to be a question – all of these people who are planning to live in Luton on these newly developed sites, where are they going to work! There is land just outside of Luton


Borough towards the east, north and abutting Houghton Regis but this is, as I stated, outside of the Borough where Luton Borough Council will not benefit from the Business Rates but Central Bedfordshire Council will. We have clients who are seeking land,


but quite simply we are unable to locate it within the Borough and may be forced to


S


“I was recently invited to attend Mr Mayor’s Parlour at Luton Town Hall to have tea and cake, and was presented with a certificate in recognition of my


“outstanding and continued commitment and service to the property market in Luton”. I believe this is the first time that such a certificate/honour has been


bestowed upon a local commercial property agent, certainly I have not heard of such in my 27 years.


look elsewhere, with ranges sizing from 1 acre – 3 acres. There has been a noticeable increase in


off-market transactions over the past 12 months or so. At the moment I am not entirely sure why this would be, but in time with the benefit of hindsight I will be able to figure it out!


JUMP BOUNCES INTO GALAXY LUTON


chroder Real Estate Investment Trust has announced a series of successful lettings and asset management achievements at The


Galaxy Luton, its 145,000 sq.ft prime leisure destination in the heart of Luton’s town centre, which take the centre to being 100 per cent occupied. • Jump Arena, a trampoline-based concept, has taken a 35,500 sq.ft unit on a 20 year lease at a rent of £357,760 per annum or £10.06 per sq.ft with five yearly open market rent reviews subject to a minimum rise of 2% per annum.


• Kidd ‘n’ Play Limited, a children’s soft play operator, has taken a 4,860 sq.ft unit on a seven year lease at £52,000 per annum or £10.70 per sq.ft.


• Finally, the Nando’s restaurant chain, which has successfully operated at The Galaxy since March 2003, has agreed to a rental increase from £57,250 to £80,000 per annum in return for a capital contribution of £80,000 and consent for a new mezzanine trading area.


This activity increases the net initial yield at the Centre from 5% to 10% and the average unexpired lease term, assuming tenants break at the earliest opportunity, from 11.3 years to 13.2 years. Other tenants at the Galaxy include the Gym, Cineworld, MFA Bowl, Subway and Wetherspoon, which together with the new lettings provide Luton with a comprehensive leisure offer. Colliers acted for Schroders on all three letting transactions. Jessica Berney, Head of Retail at Schroder Real Estate


Registered office: 70/78 Collingdon Street, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU1 1RX Registered in England no. 2780388


30


Investment Management Limited, commented: “These new lettings firmly position the Galaxy as the ‘go-to’ leisure destination for Luton, providing family focussed entertainment throughout the day and night. Both Jump Arena and Kidd ‘n’ Play are good examples of how the leisure market is evolving with new types of activity aimed at capturing the imagination and enthusiasm of people whilst extending the visiting hours, widening the appeal and growing footfall for all the tenants.”


COMMERCIAL PROPERTY MONTHLY 2016


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