CONSTRUCTION works at a £30m industrial unit development on the outskirts of Southampton are nearing completion.

South Central’s first occupier, John Lewis Partnership, prepares to move in when it opens in May.

The development, the first major speculative scheme to be announced in the Southampton area in a decade, is expected to bring 750 jobs to the area.

John Lewis will occupy the 45,000 sq ft Unit 3 at the site for use as a regional depot.

Industrial property specialists at Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH), joint agents for the scheme with JLL on behalf of the developer, Peel Logistics Property, report high levels of interest in the remaining two units as work progresses.

Adrian Whitfield, director, Industrial and Logistics at LSH’s South Coast offices, said: “Securing John Lewis Partnership as the first announced occupier is a huge endorsement for South Central. We are in talks with several potential occupiers for the remaining two units, who have expressed interest because of the high quality of the units and the development’s excellent transport links.

“This development is highly significant for the region, as its speculative nature underlines the confidence that remains in the economy in the south. Everyone involved in South Central is justifiably proud of the scheme and its benefits to the region, and we are excited to welcome the first occupiers when the development opens on target in May.”

South Central is being developed by Peel Logistics Property, whose funding partner for the project is Rockspring Property Investment Managers LLP.

South Central’s two remaining units are Unit 1 at 116,895 sq ft and Unit 2 at 39,075 sq ft. Each detached unit has a Grade A specification including dock and level access loading doors, 11 metre eaves, full access raised floor offices and large secure self-contained yard.