Case Study: Interchange Park, Bedford

Howard Group developed Interchange Park in Bedford on land acquired from the Southill Estate in 2010. This presented the opportunity to add to Bedford's out-of-town retail offering, creating further jobs in the community and adding value to the local area.

LOCATION: Ampthill Road, Bedford

SECTOR: Retail/car showroom

DEVELOPMENT VALUE: £18.5 gross development value

PHASE 1 SPECIFICATION

  • Purpose built retail accommodation
  • Customer car parking spaces
  • Dedicated service and loading areas
  • Impressive landscaped setting
  • Land for further development

PHASE 2 SPECIFICATION

  • Purpose built retail accommodation
  • Customer car parking spaces
  • Dedicated service and loading areas
  • Impressive landscaped setting
  • Land for further development

Howard Group acquired the Interchange Bedford site in December 2010 in an off market transaction from Southill Estate. Despite its allocation for industrial development, B&Q was identified as a potential pre-let occupier and the site was promoted through the planning process for a bulky goods retail consent. Following the successful first phase of development, M&S Simply Food, Costa Coffee and Motorvogue were all secured as occupiers for the second phase, resulting in further planning applications and the delivery of an exceptional out-of-town retail park. A third phase of industrial/trade counter units is now proposed on the remaining land.

Phase one of the retail development saw Howard Group pre-let c 57,000 sq ft of retail warehousing to the national DIY and home improvement company B&Q. Having secured the freehold of the land at Interchange from the Southill estate in 2011, B&Q entered into a new 20 year lease, subject to planning. The resultant investment was pre-sold to Highclere Investments and the construction of the building was contractor-funded with RG Carter. The building was handed over to B&Q for fitout in August 2013.

Following the pre-let of phase one to B&Q, phase two of the development at Interchange Park saw M&S Simply Food take a 15-year lease of a 16,000 sq ft building with associated car parking. The remainder of the park was pre-let to multi-brand car dealership Motorvogue who entered into a 20-year lease on a new showroom of 11,000 sq ft and an external display area for 120 cars. To the rear of the Motorvogue showroom is a vehicle preparation and servicing centre of 6,000 sq ft. Costa Coffee completed the line up by agreeing to a 15-year lease for a drive-thru unit of 1,851 sq ft GIA plus an external seating area and car parking.

This is the second drive-thru unit in Bedford constructed by Howard Group, coming approximately 12 months after the successful delivery of a drive-thru unit on St John's Retail Park which was also constructed by RG Carter. Subject to planning, the final phase of the £18.5m development will involve the construction of a new Renault showroom for Motorvogue as well as an extension to their existing premises.

Interchange Park is situated in the Kempston area of Bedford, approximately three miles south of the town centre. It lies just to the north of the A421 Bedford southern bypass and to the west of the A6. The property is adjacent to Bedford’s principal out of town retailing location, the Interchange Retail Park.

Howard Group is an established and successful property and capital investment business based in Cambridge with interests throughout the South East.