Home, garden and leisure retailer The Range is to occupy a high quality, sustainable logistics unit of approaching 1.2m sq ft on the Gateway 14 scheme at Junction 50 of the A14, in Stowmarket, Suffolk.
Gateway 14 Ltd, wholly owned by Mid Suffolk District Council, has exchanged conditional contracts to develop the distribution unit with its development partner Jaynic, on a freehold turnkey basis.
The Range already has two existing major distribution centres in the UK and the new site will help meet consumer demand in the South and South East of the country while also supporting operations across the UK.
A reserved matters application is to be submitted in July with a proposed start on site in January 2023 and practical completion in the Autumn of 2023. Gateway 14 already has outline planning consent for a 2.36m sq ft mixed-use innovation, business and warehousing scheme, and construction of the site infra-structure is already well underway.
It will make a major contribution to the local and regional economy creating an estimated 1,650 new jobs in the area.
Alex Simpkin, CEO at The Range, said: “This acquisition represents a £200m investment and is integral to our expansion plans. We were naturally attracted to the site due to its commitment to sustainability and proximity to the East coast container port of Felixstowe. The Freeport benefits that Gateway 14 provides allows us to evolve our ecommerce division nationwide and accelerate store growth.”
The Range is one of the fastest growing retailers in the UK. It has over 200 retail stores nationwide and more than 65,000 products across 16 different departments from Homeware and Furniture to DIY and Art Supplies. A further 100+ retail stores are planned in the coming five years, in addition to its growing online presence.
Sir Christopher Haworth, chair, Gateway 14 Ltd commented: “Welcoming The Range to Gateway 14 is a significant step forward for the site and demonstrates its important position in Suffolk and the wider Eastern region. Gateway 14 has huge potential not only for nationally important brands like The Range, but also to support local and small businesses.”
Cllr Suzie Morley, leader, Mid Suffolk District Council said: “Working in partnership with renowned home and leisure retailer, The Range, will provide a huge boost to Gateway 14 and will create a considerable number of new jobs for local people. As the development continues, I look forward to welcoming more businesses to the site.”
Ben Oughton, Development Director of Jaynic, said: “Securing such a significant first occupier, only months after we started building the infrastructure at Gateway 14, demonstrates how important a location the A14 corridor has become, and is borne out by the huge interest there is in Gateway 14, with its Freeport benefits and proximity to Felixstowe.”
Overall, the landmark development will provide high specification buildings with sustainability a central feature including EV charging, LED lighting, solar PV, smart energy systems and rainwater harvesting. The development is committed to meeting BREEAM rating of Very Good standard and strive for Excellent wherever possible. This new distribution facility will be designed to achieve BREEAM Excellent.
Furthermore, The Range opened two new stores on 1 July, expanding its network to 210 across the UK.
One store has opened on Warwickshire Shopping Park in Coventry, while the other opened in Whitwick Retail Park in Coalville.