Coventry industrial boom driven by electric cars

Carole Taylor, West Midlands Regional Managing Partner of property consultancy Vail Williams, says Coventry industrial rents are set to rise over three years, driven by the electric vehicle industry in the city
May 31, 2022
Coventry industrial rents are set to rise over the next three years as demand continues to rise and outstrip supply, thanks to the manufacture of electric vehicles and their components, says regional expert Carole Taylor.

Carole, West Midlands Regional Managing Partner at property consultancy Vail Williams, estimates rises of between 2 and 2.5 per cent per annum.

This comes as the city reinvents itself as the Midlands’ leading centre of advanced manufacturing for the automotive, rail, aerospace and motorsport industries.

These employ around 40,000 people, earning Coventry a reputation as a top city for UK employment.

Carole said: “There has been strong interest from commercial occupiers across all sectors of industrial property, leading to a flurry of deals over the last 18 months.

“As a result, availability of big box industrial units is decreasing, with approximately 1.7 million sq. ft. currently available in the market.

“It’s a similar picture for mid-sized units with just 1.6 million sq. ft. of space available. Meanwhile, at the smaller end of the scale, space remains stable at around 941,000 sq. ft.

“For big distribution space ranging over 100,000 sq. ft., you can expect to pay between £7.25 to £7.50 per square foot (psf). Mid-sized space of between 30,000 to 100,000 sq. ft. will cost around £7.00 psf.

“At the smaller end of the scale, brand new units of between 10,000 and 30,000 sq. ft.. will command rents of between £7.25 and £8.25 psf, depending on the size.”

Carole, who has more than 30 years’ experience working in the Midlands property market, has published an industrial market report for Coventry, available on the Vail Williams website.

Coventry’s car industry heyday, with Standard Triumph, Morris, Jaguar, Daimler and Rootes Group all present, was many years ago.

However, with developments in low carbon electric and hybrid powertrain technology centred in the city, Coventry it is reinventing itself once more.

Carole added that the area was particularly strong in R&D activity and retained Jaguar Land Rover’s R&D facility at Whitley, which together with a range of other traditional manufacturing trades, form the foundation of the city’s industrial heritage.

She puts the boom down to location and available workforce.

She said: “Coventry is one of the Midlands’ most strategic locations, sitting in the middle of the region’s logistics ‘golden triangle’.

“With access to the M6, M69 and M1 motorways, it is the perfect location for businesses operating in the logistics and distribution sectors.

“It also boasts benefits which go beyond its connectivity – 75 per cent of England’s population is accessible within just a two-hour’s drive, allowing the city to enjoy a vibrant, young, diverse and skilled workforce.

In her report, Carole touches on developments likely to deliver much needed industrial supply for Coventry in 2022.

These include 106,000 sq ft of industrial/warehouse space just three miles from the city centre at Lyons Park, ongoing work at Prologis Park, Ryton, planning consent for development work at Coventry Logistics Park and new logistics accommodation at Ansty Technology Park, east of the city.

There are also plans in the offing for a West Midlands Gigafactory in Coventry in 2025, a UK-first, capable of producing up to 60GWh – enough to power 600,000 electric vehicles per year – if plans are approved.

Carole added: “It is an exciting and buoyant time for the industrial market in Coventry, as investment in the city booms and occupiers flock to make the most of the location, talent and quality industrial premises available here.”