In the biggest Black Country industrial deal for ten years, West Midlands-based property developer Opus Land is developing a 30-acre site at Wednesbury, Sandwell on J9 of the M6. The £45M venture, called Opus Nine, is funded by clients of property services and property investment management company Arlington Securities.
The 41,850sq m scheme has planning consent for manufacturing, warehousing and distribution facilities and will comprise a mix of speculative as well as design and build options in buildings up to 15,810sq m.
Opus Nine is the result of one of the longest and most complex property transactions completed in the past few years by a private developer. The land assembly process has taken more than five years to complete and bears testimony to the foresight, vision and perseverance of the developer, according to Charles Roach, development co-ordinator for Black Country Investment (BCI), the government agency tasked with attracting inward investment to the areas of Wolverhampton, Walsall, Dudley and Sandwell.
Roach comments: “Having invested in an initial eight acre plot some four years ago, Opus has never lost sight of, or commitment to, its ultimate objective – that of bringing together the myriad of different interests and parties involved on the rest of the site to achieve the final deal.”
The majority of the remaining land – some 15 acres – has been released by leading garden tool manufacturer Spear & Jackson, whose main production facility will continue to operate from the St Paul’s Road site. Other landholders included Jafco, and the local education authority.
Access is key to the new development, and has been facilitated by BCI with a £5M grant to create a new roadway, which will be adopted into the site.
The advent of the M6 Toll Road has relieved the volume of traffic on the motorway network, enabling the focus of current demand to shift and diversify toward new locations north of the Birmingham conurbation. Opus Nine will provide new and much needed supply in an area where demand will shortly outstrip existing stock. It is expeced that the first buildings will become available on the scheme within the next 12 months.
“As the only site of its kind in the region with direct motorway access, its future is assured,” says Richard Smith, director of Opus Land, also developer along with sister company Frontier Estates, of the £150M Prudential-funded Hub scheme close to the M6’s J6.
Joint agents for Opus Nine are King Sturge and Golby Aboyne, the latter of which also advised Opus on the acquisition.