The West London property market is showing strong signs of recovery, with a return to speculative development, particularly in the industrial sector, writes Ross Sturley.

One of the best signs of a burgeoning property sector is speculative development – when developers build commercial property without a tenant signed up. Obviously it’s riskier than building when you know who’s moving in and what they will pay.

There has been something of a return to this activity in West London. Chancerygate kicked us off by building a dozen industrial units at 440 Link in Southall. They now have all but one smaller unit let.

This is a stellar performance in comparison with other UK locations, making West London an exciting investment option. “West London is the default choice”, says Don Bailey of Chancerygate. “It’s an evergreen location”.

Development Securities are making good progress on phase one of a 275,000 sq ft office scheme in Hammersmith Grove, and SEGRO have kicked off at Tudor Gate – both “speculative” projects.

Central Park, on the Carey’s site in Park Royal, is another. It will provide 162,000 sq ft of high-specification industrial units on Acton Lane, ranging from 10,000 to 74,000 sq ft.

Funded by Goya and Scottish Widows, who are looking to invest more in West London, Central Park is being marketed by Colliers who are bullish about the development’s chances of success, and give guide rates at around £13.50/sq ft.

“We’ve had a good level of viewings and are in discussions with a number of parties. I’m confident we’ll have deals soon”, says Len Rosso, Head of Industrial and Logistics at Colliers.

Central Park uses cutting edge, energy saving technologies to reduce the real cost of occupation for the user. As costs of energy have doubled in the last 6 years, and are predicted by many to at least double again in the next 6 years, this is of increasing significance to industrial occupiers.

Rosso also points out that take-up in Park Royal in 2012 was in the region of 300,000 sq ft, below that for 2011. “The main reason for this is the lack then of Grade A industrial/warehouse accommodation availability”, he says.

Given Central Park is the first speculative scheme in London to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating, this is something they are keen to exploit. It has an EPC A Rating and also reduces carbon emissions (and therefore energy) by over 25% when measured against a 2010 warehouse.

The confidence around Park Royal in particular, and West London in general comes from the quality of the occupier base. It’s a strategic investment location with a marvellously mixed profile of property users. This produces a consistent demand, and although the market requires flexibility – such as five to ten year leases – good quality product in West London is a good investment.

Ross Sturley is the content director for Place West London, the sub-regional economic development summit. To learn more visit .