Frank Marshall Estates reveals why small industrial employment parks are the future

Property developer Frank Marshall Estates has revealed plans to roll out its Nano Park concept in Kirklees after completing a successful pilot model.

Nano Park in Bradford.

Nano Park creates small industrial and office spaces for small and fledgling companies as well as satellite operations for larger firms.

Each park creates space for about 70 jobs. It has already developed a 12,000 sq ft Nano Park in Bradford, with other similar parks in the pipeline for Leedsccc, Skipton and Wakefield.

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The firm is now looking to roll out the concept in Kirklees.

Jimmy Marshall, director of Frank Marshall Estates, said: “The astounding success of our ground-breaking Nano Park in Bradford, which is completely full, has encouraged us to repeat the model elsewhere in Yorkshire.

“We are now looking specifically at Kirklees, which is an excellent Yorkshire location, given its skilled labour force and its outstanding transport links, notably the proximity of the M62.

“We provide small units, normally about 860 sq ft, per floor over two floors. The ground floor is classic industrial space so can be used for storage, garaging, workshop, laboratory, and manufacturing, basically whatever a customer needs.

He added: “We can see a gap in the business space market where not all occupiers want just five or 10 per cent of office space in their unit. We believe we are offering the new option for a more internet-based world, where a quality office is part of the space needed.

Mr Marshall said there was a limited supply of modern space for start-up, SME and satellite operations for larger companies in Kirklees right now and the need for this type of space is increasingly important in the current economic climate.

“We were astounded at the success of our first Nano Park in Bradford. We built it and the units absolutely flew,” he said. “We’ve never let an estate so quickly. This has encouraged us to roll out the model across the Yorkshire region and then potentially across the whole country.”

One reason Mr Marshall thinks the first park proved such a hit with tenants is the flexible leases offered – the company will consider anything from two years to 20 years – and the affordable rents: they cost about £17,000 a year.

At the same time, he believes that a Nano Park offers potential for larger businesses to establish a smaller satellite operation on flexible terms. This helps them serve project-specific needs or to test uncertain projects, which may be research and development-based and therefore may not warrant a full satellite office.

The 2014 Kirklees Economic Strategy (KES) has performance measures linked to the enhancement of opportunity for business start-ups.

It notes that Kirklees is relatively entrepreneurial and, at times, has had higher start-up rates than the wider City Region. However, it also has lower start-ups than the UK average. This harms local growth and reduces the benefits for the local economy.

Mr Marshall added: “We are extremely excited about finding the perfect site in Kirklees for our Nano Park. We have a couple of options in the pipeline that have been exceedingly hard to find, but we are working hard to make them a reality. It will be a win-win situation, kick-starting the region’s economy and providing new opportunities for post-Covid/post-Brexit recovery. We can’t wait to get started.”

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James Mitchinson