Leading Midland developers Gallan Group and Stoford have been appointed by The Co-operative Group to build a new £35million regional distribution centre in Avonmouth, Bristol, employing around 1,000 people.

They were selected from a shortlist of six national developers to create the 435,780sq ft facility on a 32 acre site acquired from Crown Estate which is currently occupied by Honda Motor Group as part of their UK import facility.

It will serve more than 400 Co-operative food stores in Bristol, the South West and South Wales as part of the Co-operative’s reorganisation of its UK logistics following the acquisition of Somerfield in 2009.

The site forms part of a 93 acre facility currently occupied by Honda Motor Europe as part of their UK vehicle storage facility. Whilst working closely with Honda to release the land, which is surplus to Honda’s requirements, The Crown Estate was able to agree the sale to the developers Gallan Group and Stoford. The Crown Estate retains ownership of the remaining 60 acres.

A detailed planning application will be submitted later this year and the massive cross-docked style distribution warehouse, configured to allow 24/7 use, is expected to be operational in early 2012.

The deal, described by Stoford Director Dan Gallagher as ‘particularly innovative’, took 12 months to negotiate.

He said: “We have worked closely with the occupier to secure a first-class site in the established environment which already has a string of key occupiers including John Lewis, Scottish and Newcastle, Expeditors and Avon and Somerset Police.”

Mark Leonard, The Co-operative Group’s Regional Head of Logistics, said: “The Bristol facility is an important element in the distribution spine that we are creating to service our retail portfolio in the Southern region and will come on stream 12 months after our scheme in Andover, which is currently under construction.

“The team from Gallan Group and Stoford displayed great professionalism over many months of negotiations. We were impressed with the ‘customer focus’ shown by their team, and are happy we have a partner who will help us deliver a first class facility,” he added.

Dan Gallagher will lead the project for Stoford alongside his sister, Karen Wilson on behalf of Gallan Group, where she is director.

Karen Wilson added: “We are very much looking forward to delivering this development in partnership with Stoford and to working closely with The Co-operative Group.”

The Co-operative Group was represented by Thomas Round, London, Nigel Lawrence Partnership acted for Honda Motor Group and Driver Jonas Deloitte advised the current owner Crown Estate.

The Avonmouth scheme is Stoford’s second major scheme in Bristol this year following the site purchase of Redland House for a 60,000sq ft office development for Simply Health.

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