Whistl, the second-largest postal operator in the UK, has announced that it is to move into a new super depot for its northern operations in late Spring.
The company has taken a 10-year lease on M&G Real Estate’s Logistics 225 unit at Harworth Group’s flagship Logistics North development in Bolton – the seventh deal at the site in the past three years, reaffirming the site’s position as one of the North West’s leading Logistics and Distribution locations.
The new site allows Whistl to consolidate existing operations in Leeds and Warrington onto one site that has 33% greater capacity for future expansion of its existing mail, packet and parcel and ecommerce business. It also chose the 224,938 sq ft Grade A warehouse at Logistics North, Bolton, due to its immediate access onto Junction 4 of the M61 and, by combining two existing depots onto one site, it will be able to further improve efficiencies in its operations.
Logistics 225 and its neighbouring Logistics 175 unit was fully funded by M&G Real Estate as one of the largest property investors in the UK, with Harworth Group constructing the units on the company’s behalf. Both units practically completed in December 2016 prior to Whistl confirming its move to the larger unit.
As part of the move, Whistl will begin its recruitment campaign in the Bolton area in conjunction with Bolton Council, through its Team Bolton partnership, to recruit people to the site. Whistl has offered staff employed at the existing Leeds and Warrington depots the opportunity to work at the new site.
The move to Bolton will significantly improve the operational efficiency of Whistl as the state-of-the-art building has four level access doors, 20 dock levellers, 50 trailer parking spaces, 31 loading positions and 222 car parking spaces.
Whistl joins Aldi, MBDA, Joy Global, Costa Coffee, Green King and Lidl as occupiers on Logistics North and it has a 550-acre country park also under construction, providing unique surroundings for employees on-site. The whole development has strong support from Bolton Council, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, and MIDAS – Greater Manchester’s Inward Investment Agency.
Logistics North is one of the North West’s largest live commercial developments, with outline planning consent in place for 4m sq ft of commercial space.
Nick Wells, CEO Whistl, said: “We are delighted to confirm that we are investing in this grade A facility at Logistics North in Bolton. The new depot will enable us to provide an excellent working environment for our colleagues as well enable us to continue providing high quality and efficient services to our customers. We look forward to working with Bolton Council on recruiting people to work at Whistl in the coming months.”
Councillor Cliff Morris, Leader of Bolton Council, said: “This is great news for local people and will be of tremendous benefit to our town and residents. I am proud that our hard work behind the scenes has paid off as Whistl joins the likes of Lidl, Aldi, MBDA and Joy Global, bringing at least 100 new jobs and additional revenue into the borough.
“This clearly demonstrates that Logistics North is the perfect distribution site for business and a key site for the North West. With another major company due to be announced soon, it is clear that Bolton is an attractive proposition for business growth.”
David Crowley, Director of Logistics & Industrial Asset Management at M&G Real Estate, added: “The buildings we have funded at Logistics North form an important part of our current 1.4m sq ft speculative logistics programme. This early pre let to Whistl underlines the strength of the location and is testament to our ongoing strategy to create core product in prime locations which will provide long term income returns for the funds. We shall continue to look for similar opportunities into 2017 and add to our £2.4bn industrial and logistics portfolio.”
Ian Ball, Executive Director of Capital Growth at Harworth Group plc, said: “Logistics North has established itself as one of the North of England’s leading distribution locations and we are delighted to welcome another leading company like Whistl to take occupancy of Logistics 225 within six weeks of us completing it on M&G’s behalf. Whistl’s arrival at Logistics North further proves the site’s strategic importance to distribution companies and the underlying strength of the Logistics market in the North West.
We now look forward to letting M&G’s other Logistics 175 unit as one of the few remaining Grade A rated distribution warehouses available in the North West.”