Construction is to start on a state-of-the-art Aston Martin dealership on the former Ford Transit factory in Southampton.

A £1.7 million land purchase by commercial property consultancy Vail Williams LLP, on behalf of automotive retailer Harwoods Group, signalled the green light for the building by the M27 at Swaythling.

The 1.33-acre site was surplus to the requirements of Inchcape Estates, which is building a Jaguar Land Rover dealership on part of the site Inchape Estates bought from developer Mountpark. Lambert Smith Hampton acted for Inchcape Estates.

Harwoods owns dealerships across the South of England, partnering with premium marques such as Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, Jaguar and Land Rover.

Russell Mogridge, a Vail Williams partner who leads transactional services for the Solent region, said: “We were instructed by Harwoods to undertake a search for suitable premises for a new prestigious Aston Martin dealership. After a comprehensive search we identified a parcel of land which was surplus to the requirements of Inchcape Estates.

“Following terms of agreement, ownership transferred to Harwoods, with a state-of-the-art Aston Martin showroom to be built. The acquisition figure was £1.7 million.

“The deal is the latest example where Vail Williams’ occupier advisory service has been utilised by growth companies with property requirements which range from retail showrooms, shops and restaurants to head offices, factories and warehousing.”

Vail Williams has two offices in the Solent region - Lakeside Portsmouth and Ocean Village in Southampton - and 50 staff.

Martin Tice, a consultant for Vail Williams in the Solent region, said: “A key factor in the purchase was location – the site is close to the M27 and connecting M3, as well as Southampton Airport and, via Southampton Parkway, the main rail link to London Waterloo. With Aston Martin, Jaguar Land Rover and Mercedes close by this will be a significant high value motor trade hub.

“Securing the right location is never easy because demand continues to outstrip supply along the M27 Corridor. A number of sites were considered in this year-long search for Harwoods.”

Archie Harwood, Chief Executive, Harwoods Group, commented: “We’re grateful to Martin and his colleagues at Vail Williams for securing us an ideal site for our state-of-the-art Aston Martin showroom for discerning motorists looking to own the iconic, luxury British sports car.
“We anticipate the new showroom opening in Spring 2020 and are planning to recruit a number of skilled roles to be based there, which is good news for the local and wider community.”
The Aston Martin dealership will be located next to Mountpark Southampton, a premier new industrial and logistics development with seven units totalling 554,480 sq ft.

Phase 1 is now complete and fully let – occupiers are contact lenses manufacturer CooperVision, textile maintenance services company Berendsen and health and beauty wholesaler Murrays.

Scheduled for completion last October were four remaining units of 341,040 sq ft.

Before being sold, the original assembly operations at Swaythling stretched over 44 acres and produced Transit vans before the last one rolled off the production line in July 2013.

According to reports, a total of 1,200 jobs will be generated by the £100 million redevelopment of the disused factory site, which traces its roots back to 1939 as an aircraft components manufacturer.