Developer Wykeland Group has continued to forge ahead with major investments during the lockdown, securing new planning approvals, driving forward key regeneration projects and concluding asset acquisitions in the past few weeks.
Wykeland has recently gained planning consent for new business space totalling over 230,000 sq ft at its growing Melton West business park in East Yorkshire.
The approvals from East Riding of Yorkshire Council give the green light to development of a 107,000 sq ft operational support building to accommodate more than 500 Humberside Police staff, a speculative 84,000 sq ft industrial development and a 40,000 sq ft office, distribution and warehouse centre for an unidentified end user.
Hull-based Wykeland has also submitted plans to the council for an 88,000 sq ft distribution centre at Melton West for an unnamed occupier, which would create around 450 jobs.
The latest developments at Melton West will bring further investment to one of Yorkshire’s leading business parks, which already has more than 800,000 sq ft of manufacturing, warehouse and office space, with leading companies on site including Kohler Mira, Heron Foods, Needlers and Allam Marine.
They also add to Wykeland’s growing pipeline of projects across Yorkshire and the Humber, including £50m of development currently under construction.
Current development projects include the largest single investment yet as part of the £80m regeneration of Hull’s Fruit Market urban village – a 58,500 sq ft head office for Arco, the UK’s leading safety company, together with a 350-space multi-storey car park, for Arco’s use as well as for wider Fruit Market occupiers and visitors.
The Fruit Market regeneration is being driven forward by the Wykeland Beal joint venture formed by Wykeland and housebuilder Beal Homes, working in partnership with Hull City Council.
Just yards away from the Arco construction site, another Wykeland development is also well advanced – a 20,000 sq ft sister building for the Centre for Digital Innovation (C4DI), which is the centrepiece of Wykeland’s @TheDock tech campus.
Elsewhere, strong progress is being made on the £17m Treadmills redevelopment of the former Northallerton Prison site in North Yorkshire. With new stores for Lidl and Iceland due to open this summer, the scheme has now entered its second phase, which will see the listed former prison blocks transformed into offices and co-working facilities for start-up and scale-up digital businesses forming the C4DI Northallerton community, as well as cafés and restaurants.
In addition, construction is nearing completion on the latest phase of Wykeland’s Europarc business park in Grimsby – the premier location of choice for investment on the south bank of the Humber. The development is of two new speculative buildings for manufacturing or warehouse uses totalling 45,000 sq ft.
Construction activity resumed on all current Wykeland developments within five weeks of the start of the lockdown, following introduction of extensive safety measures in response to the Covid-19 emergency.
Wykeland has also been active on the acquisition front during the lockdown period, sealing the purchase of Hull’s former Marks and Spencer store and another neighbouring property.
Wykeland purchased the freehold of the vacant former M&S store from the food and clothing retailer and also a neighbouring property, which incorporates HMV and a former New Look unit, from a Jersey-based property fund.
At 60,000 sq ft and 42,000 sq ft respectively, the buildings are the two largest properties in Whitefriargate, one of Hull’s key city centre locations and a priority area for regeneration.
Wykeland acquired the properties as strategic assets and took the opportunity to complete the transactions at a time when values have become realistic.
Wykeland managing director Dominic Gibbons said: “Our recent activity demonstrates our continuing commitment to investing in major projects of strategic importance to the region’s economy.
“We have always taken a long-term market view and that has not been affected by the recent economic shock caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We remain confident about the economy in Yorkshire and the Humber as we focus on existing and new growth opportunities. The projects we are currently delivering and those in the pipeline will make an important contribution to the region’s growth post Covid-19.”