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Brakes takes Amazon shed

08 March 2024

Food service operations company Brakes has taken a new 25-year lease on Amazon’s 465,000 ft2 ex-fulfilment centre in Hemel Hempstead.

By Liza Helps Property Editor Logistics Matters

SYSCO, THE American owner of Brakes Catering Equipment is investing £79 million in the UK to open what will be its largest foodservice depot in Europe. It will spend the next 18 months adapting a former Amazon site in Hemel Hempstead to make it suitable for foodservice operations and implement sustainability improvements across the premises.

Sysco GB CEO Paul Nieduszynski, said: “The new Sysco London depot is a next generation site, unlike anything we’ve seen before. As the largest Sysco site in Europe, it will offer a more comprehensive service to independent customers in London and the surrounding areas. It takes foodservice wholesale in Britain to an entirely new level.

“For the first time, we will be able to introduce the full suite of technology that benefits Sysco customers in the United States. The size of the depot will also allow us to be more responsive to customer demand by holding a full range of products on the edge of Greater London. The combination of scale, cutting-edge technology, range, and service will set a new standard for foodservice wholesale in the UK.”

The introduction of the depot will allow Sysco to store a more comprehensive range of fresh, frozen and ambient products locally, providing a faster response to customer demand. 

Over the next 10 years, the new site will help contribute to the creation of 850 jobs, and will be fully operational at the beginning of 2026.

The ex amazon fulfilment centre known as Hemel465 was originally built in 2005. It was let to Amazon in 2012. Murphy Group will fully refurbish the building to bring it up to current institutional standards, allowing Sysco to then invest £79 million into the site from January 2025 to create its largest European depot.

The building comprises a distribution warehouse of steel portal frame construction, metal profile clad roof, and concrete yard. The gross site area is approximately 20.13 acres providing approximately 50% site cover.

It is located on Boundary Way just 0.75 miles from Junction 8 of the M1 motorway.

The cross dock facility has15m eaves, 42 dock and eight level access doors, a 50kn/ft2 floor loading, and 50m yards.

Amazon closed the facility last year.

Sysco acquired Brakes Group, including Brakes Catering Equipment, for $3.1 billion (£2.3 billion) back in 2016.

DTRE advised Brakes while CBRE acted for the landlord.