The Hub in Birmingham gets underway

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The £150M scheme to regenerate the largest brownfield development site in the Midlands into The Hub, offering distribution and production facilities, is due to start. Located between J6 and J7 of the M6 near Spaghetti Junction, The Hub (see Logistics Manager July/August 2003) has planning permission for 186,000sq m of distribution and industrial accommodation and is claimed to be the only site in the Midlands that can support a unit of 93,000sq m.

Demolition and site clearance is due to start and the first pre-let – for an 8,370sq m unit – has already been agreed with IMI Components. Construction of that unit will begin shortly.

Fropus, a joint venture between sister companies Opus Land and Frontier Estates,is developing the 95-acre site. The scheme is being funded by Prudential and jointly marketed by agents M3 and Knight Frank.

The Hub’s masterplan contains design and build options from 4,650sq m up to 93,000sq m but M3’s Richard Meering reckons “it’s more likely” that buildings will range from 9,300sq m up to 46,500sq m.

The development will support more than 2,000 jobs for local people and the joint agents believe that labour will be a major selling point for Hub. Another attraction will be next year’s opening of the M6 toll road, which will enhance site access by linking J11 of the M6 at Cannock to the M42 at Coleshill. Stuart Mair, of Knight Frank, says the toll road will “dramatically improve the area and The Hub”, as well as alleviate traffic on the M6.

A lack of land availability in the Birmingham area and Coventry nearing a similar situation means The Hub could be the last major development of its kind in the Midlands.

Mair says that “it’s a serious situation”. But he feels larger land availability could emerge to generate a new Golden Triangle – between Stoke, Burton upon Trent and Lichfield – covering the A38, A50 and north M6 corridor.

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