DWELL AT MARSTON GATE: RACING THE YEAR OF THE ROOSTER
31 March 2017
Logistics is often defined as ‘having the right thing in the right place at the right time’ and the same principle applies to our business, where the ‘thing’ in question is a high quality distribution or industrial facility. The building, the location and the customer’s operational timescale are equally important, but at DC9 Prologis Park Marston Gate timing was especially critical.
Our customer for this new 151,000 square foot building – the first on the second phase of Marston Gate – is Dwell, the furniture retailer owned by DFS.
When we first met Dwell in 2016, we knew that the new building – which would be the company’s national distribution centre - had to be complete and fitted out by early February 2017 to co-incide with Chinese New Year. Chinese businesses close for two weeks over the New Year period and since most of Dwell’s stock is made in China, the company had arranged for 150 containers of furniture to be shipped before the celebrations for the Year of the Rooster began, to make sure that there was no disruption to stock availability.
So, we had a hard deadline. Practical completion was scheduled for 3 February and the new building had to be ready and fully equipped before 150 trucks drove into Marston Gate to make their deliveries on 4 February.
Fast-track to Completion
Before we met Dwell, the company had considered taking an existing building so that it was ready for the Chinese New Year. But, if it had taken this building Dwell would have had to compromise on building specification and incur double overheads. However, because we had de-risked the Prologis Park site and prepared it for development, we could reassure Dwell that the building at Marston Gate would be delivered on time.
The only variation to our existing planning permission was that Dwell needed a higher building, so we applied to Central Bedfordshire Council to increase the height to 15 metres. Over the many years that we have worked in Central Bedfordshire, Prologis and the Council have developed a good working relationship. The Council took a positive approach to the Dwell application and we were able to secure the necessary consents, ahead of normal statutory timescales, to meet Dwell’s timeline.
“It’s very important to bring investment and new businesses into the area to provide jobs for local people,” said Beverley Gaynor, Inward Investment Manager, Central Bedfordshire Council. “So, it’s really good for us to be able to work with Prologis to promote the sites that are coming forward and bring that business into the area.”
Finishing the Fit-Out
Although we can often give our customers access to the building before practical completion, the fit-out for most logistics centres usually continues after the handover, before the building becomes operational. In this case, we made a commitment to give Dwell four weeks early access. But, the construction programme went so well that the fit-out started on site nine weeks before practical completion.
Both the building and the fit-out completed on time and when the trucks started rolling in at 9.00am on 4 February, Dwell’s new national distribution centre was ready to receive the 150 containers of furniture.
“To avoid any disruption to our business, the move to Prologis Park Marston Gate had to be seamless,” said Aamir Ahmad, CEO, Dwell. “The building had to open bang on time, in perfect working order and that is exactly what happened.
“The overall build process has gone smoothly from start to finish and the communication between Prologis and my team has worked very well,” Aamir Ahmad added. “We need a distribution centre like this to make sure we can deliver the service our customers expect. For Dwell, this new building is a game changer.”