The Range's new £100million warehouse is taking shape

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Devon billionaire Chris Dawson’s £100million warehouse – covering an area of about 26 football pitches – is beginning to take shape.

The billionaire announced 12 months ago that he would build a 1.2million sq ft distribution warehouse for The Range at Central Park, Avonmouth.

New aerial photos show the extent of the new development, which is among the largest in the UK, and how it is taking shape.

The enormous construction project, due to be completed in the Spring, will create The Range’s new south of England distribution centre. It is expected to bring more than 1,050 new jobs to the area.

When news of the deal broke, Mr Dawson said the plans had been agreed over a couple of pina coladas while on a Barbados beach.

He said: “I did this deal on my favourite beach in Barbados, the same place I was when I bought all of the MFI stock years back.

Chris Dawson announced the deal 12 months ago

“I think the pina coladas at the hotel have something special in them as I always do some of my best negotiating after a couple.

“The Range has continued to buck the trend of UK retail and opened superstores throughout the recession. This distribution centre is a big step in the expansion plans that I have for the business, it’s non-stop for us.

“Along with over 1,000 new jobs at the site this building will deliver long-term service contracts for local suppliers and inject millions of pounds into the Bristol economy every year whilst support local firms during the construction.”

Mr Dawson added: “When the warehouse is up and fully operational it will act as a training hub for smaller warehouses around the country.

“I will also offer tours to schools, colleges and universities as I am keen to give the future industry leaders a chance to see how a big UK operation works.”

It will be one of the most high-tech warehouses in the country and is costing Mr Dawson in the region of £100 million.

The Avonmouth site has excellent transport links

He opted to build the facility in South Gloucestershire close to the junction of the M4 and the M49, after opposition to his original plan for a facility in Chippenham.

The original plan for a warehouse close to the M4 drew opposition from residents and government highways officials.

Tim Davies, of Colliers International, said: “The Avonmouth region is ideally situated for distribution and with first class rail, road and sea connectivity the location has all the key criteria for a top class intermodal facility.

“Moreover, there is plenty of vacant land ‘oven ready’ for new development. The importance of the location as a natural distribution hub has been recognised by many global companies who have developed huge facilities in the area.

“Tesco, ASDA, Coop, and Amazon, amongst others have already developed huge facilities in the area and next year The Range will develop one of the largest warehouses in the UK of almost 1.2 million sq ft. On top of that, Lidl will develop another 600,000sqft.”

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