A BOLD bid has been launched to create a manufacturing hotspot which developers hope could become another Nissan and lead to a jobs bonanza.
The team behind the Amazon Park development in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, where Hitachi is about to start building a new train factory, has appointed two of the biggest commercial property agents in the world.
The Newcastle office of DTZ is now regional consultant and CBRE has become the national consultant, working out of its London, Leeds and Sheffield offices to promote the site to potential inward investors.
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Both CBRE and DTZ also possess international reach to attract companies from all over the world.
Merchant Place Developments (MPD), the owner and developer of Amazon Park, has started talks with several companies that could lead to the creation of a supply chain village that would see a cluster of manufacturing and storage facilities on the doorstep of the Hitachi production line.
The arrival of the Japanese manufacturer, which will employ more than 700 workers when the plant opens in 2015, is seen as a catalyst for transforming the former farmland into a thriving business park.
If developments go to plan, up to 2,000 people could be employed at Amazon Park.
The proposed construction of a new rail head – linking the site with the East Coast Main Line – as well as its close proximity to road, sea and air links has also alerted warehousing and logistics firms to its potential.
Chris Noyes, MPD’s development director, said: “This is a very exciting project for the North-East. Success breeds success and we are very confident that other large companies will be attracted here. People like to be where there is activity and Hitachi will be a key driver to bringing more companies to the region.
“Since Nissan opened its factory in Sunderland we have seen the support companies locate and grow around them. I am sure over time we will see a similar thing with Hitachi.”
This month, an archeological dig is due to begin on the site before construction of the factory starts in the summer.
Hitachi is taking a third – 460,000sq ft – of Amazon Park.
Toby Vernon, a senior director at CBRE, believes the remaining space could help address a shortage of large industrial warehouse capacity across the UK.
He said: “We see this as a great opportunity for Amazon Park where we can build almost a further million square feet – 100,000 square metres of industrial or warehousing buildings to sit alongside the new exciting Hitachi building.”
Nick Atkinson, a director of DTZ, which has particular expertise in the rail sector, said he was delighted to become part of the landmark development, having worked with MPD in the past.