Developer dismisses fears of industrial bubble

Andrew Dickman, director of db Symmetry

An industrial developer with ambitious plans for Yorkshire has dismissed fears of a sector bubble, believing that consumers’ desire for convenience will continue to drive demand in the future.

DB Symmetry controls 140 acres of land in Yorkshire. It plans to double the figure by Christmas and expects to double again before the end of 2019.

Director Andrew Dickman told The Yorkshire Post that he believes online retailing will remain the main area of growth for the industrial sector.

He said: “In 2000, about three per cent of all retailing went through the internet. In 2017, the figure was 17.8 per cent. The prediction for 2018 is 19.1 per cent.

“We’ve gone from three per cent to a fifth of all retailing done through the internet.”

He added: “For most logistics operators, the biggest supplier into their units is a thing called returns.

“The desire for that convenience that people have and increasingly younger people think of as normal is driving a different trend in how people do things. That’s driving a demand for buildings. I don’t see any reason why that’s going to disappear.

“Therefore I don’t see any reason why there will be a significant devaluation.

“We’re still historically behind the curve. Growth is almost inherent.”

DB Symmetry, a joint venture between investor Delancy and a set of property developers, employs 27 people across two offices in Northampton and Manchester.

It owns 3,000 acres of land across the country which are at various stages of planning, pre-planning and development.

The company recently launched its first development in Yorkshire - phase one of a new £70m logistics park. The developer has committed to deliver up to 721,000 sq ft of logistics space on Symmetry Park near Doncaster and has reached practical completion for the first speculative 150,000 sq ft unit.

Mr Dickman said the company is in talks with two occupiers to build more buildings on the site but is concentrating its efforts on securing an occupier for the initial unit.

“We are a well-capitalised privately-owned logistics developer with ambitions to do more in the region,” he said.

“There is a geographical shift to the north happening for occupiers based upon accessibility to customers and speed of that, the convenience. There is more labour available and that labour is less expensive.”

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