Developer announces investment in major employment scheme

Gloucestershire developer Robert Hitchins has announced that it is investing in the development of two commercial property units to complete the Central Park development on Bridgend Industrial Estate.

Both buildings are pre-let to national brands and will provide more than 100,000 sq ft of much-needed Grade A commercial space in South Wales at a gross development value in excess of £20m.

The two new properties consist of a 20,000 sq ft builder’s merchants, and an 82,000 sq ft industrial warehousing and office facility, due for completion in July and October 2024 respectively.

Both schemes will provide much-needed employment opportunities for Bridgend with in excess of 200 permanent jobs expected, as well as further jobs during construction.

“Our commitment to deliver employment-generating development in Bridgend continues and we are proud to be investing further in Bridgend and South Wales,” said John Jones, senior asset and development manager at Robert Hitchins.”

Since the acquisition of the former Kimball Electronics plant in 2006, Robert Hitchins has developed Central Park over several phases.

A scheme of 16 trade counter units amounting to 51,000 sq ft was developed in 2008, followed by a further 13,500 sq ft trade counter scheme in 2012 and the latest phase being a 40,000 sq ft state-of-the-art facility for PCI Pharma Services in 2017.

The addition of the final two phases of development will amount to over 200,000 sq ft of best-in-class commercial property developed by Robert Hitchins in Bridgend.

Mr Jones estimated that there are currently more than 400 jobs associated with Central Park and the creation of another 200 or so via the net phase of development will be a much-needed boost for the region and the wider economy. It will bring Robert Hitchins’ investment in Central Park to more than £25 million.

Neil Francis from Knight Frank, who acted as agent for the landlord, said: “Historically, Robert Hitchins has timed its investment perfectly by committing to development at times in the economic cycle when other property companies have been more risk averse. They have a track record of successfully delivering to market the right properties at the right time and the development of these two buildings in Bridgend is testament to that.

“The dramatic increase in build costs in the last three years, coupled with a downturn in the financial markets, has made development and the availability of funding difficult in all UK regions. Robert Hitchins, however, is looking to the long term in Bridgend by self-funding the development of high-quality buildings which comes as a breath of fresh air to the occupational market.”

Robert Hitchins, based at Boddington in Gloucestershire, is one of the leading property developers, investors and asset managers in the Southwest and South Wales. It provides the full development process from site acquisition and planning through to development and investment.

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