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Queen's Park delivers the goods for WH Smith.

Byline: By Rebekah Ashby

Wh smith has signed a pre-let agreement for a new 37,500 sq ft news distribution centre in Gateshead.

The high street giant has signed the deal to take the premises at UK Land Estates' 225,000 sq ft office and industrial redevelopment Queen's Park.

Construction started on the redevelopment of Queen's Park in November 2003 and the scheme, at the heart of Gateshead's Team Valley, will see the transformation of the 12-acre, former Ingersoll Rand headquarters.

WH Smith has signed up for the premises after spending two years looking for a home for its growing regional news distribution centre.

The new premises will house more than 200 staff and distribute 1.4 million newspapers and a million magazines a week to more than 1,500 customers, including major multi-nationals like Asda and Tesco as well and local independent newsagents.

Darren Turner, manager of the Newcastle centre for WH Smith, said: "Our new distribution facility will match our business model requirements and greatly improve overall efficiency and working practices as part of a UK-wide programme to take WH Smith forward in the 21st Century.

"We turned to UK Land Estates as the obvious choice for provision of the right building in the right location.

"Queen's Park will be home to the largest WH Smith news centre in the country. It will also enable us to expand and take on additional staff.

"After two years looking for the ideal location for our regional centre, we feel that Queen's Park offers us this and will enable us to service the region efficiently due to its excellent road links."

The Queen's Park redevelopment is being undertaken by Tolent Construction and will provide sites capable of housing bespoke units from 1,800 sq m to 4,560 sq m, together with speculative high bay individual units from 840 sq m to 3,717 sq m.

There will also be more than 3,900 sq m of offices that will set a new standard for office accommodation on the Team Valley.

Gary Hudson, development director for UK Land Estates, said: "We are delighted that WH Smith has chosen this site for their new regional distribution centre.

"We have worked closely with WH Smith over the last two years to find a site which satisfied all of their requirements.

"The Queen's Park development will mirror the contemporary look and feel of the Picture House, UK Land Estates headquarters, which received a British Council for Offices design award.

"The new development will transform this largely-neglected site into a prestigious business location for the highest quality business occupiers."

A number of national businesses have already signed up for new and refurbished units in the scheme, with the first completed buildings coming to the market this Spring. The letting agents are Knight Frank and Naylors Chartered Surveyors. Eversheds lawyers acted on behalf of UK Land Estates.
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 24, 2004
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