A £1 billion industrial scheme in the West Midlands has a new team leading the project following a land deal.
Real estate investor and asset manager Oxford Properties and specialist developer Logistics Capital Partners have formed a new joint venture to acquire the 734-acre site west of junction 12 of the M6, near Four Ashes in Staffordshire (see map below).
The planned ‘West Midlands Interchange’ scheme there is set to comprise eight million sq ft of logistics and warehouse space and a new freight terminal which will connect up with the West Coast Main Line.
There will also be a new link road connecting the site to the A5 and A449 and two country parks covering 109 acres with the aim of achieving net biodiversity.
The seller is the Four Ashes consortium, led by Surrey-based rail infrastructure specialist Kilbride, with land owner Piers Monckton, whose family owns the nearby stately home Stretton Hall, and the Duke of Westminster’s property group Grosvenor.
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The new owners said they planned to invest £1 billion to bring forward the project which is expected to take around a decade to complete.
Infrastructure work is due to commence in the first half of next year with the first buildings starting on site in 2022, ready for occupation in 2023.
It is hoped the project will attract major logistics operators to the West Midlands to tap into the site’s freight capacity and its proximity to the region’s motorway network as well move traffic from road to rail.
Developers say it could create 8,500 jobs and a further 8,100 indirect jobs in the supply chain and add around £430 million to the local economy and £900 million of economic activity nationally per year.
It is the latest move by Oxford Properties into the West Midlands region after the company recently bought M7 Real Estate, the majority owner and asset manager of Birmingham’s Mailbox shopping and leisure complex.
Head of logistics and residential for Europe James Boadle said: “In recent years, we have significantly increased our exposure to the logistics sector globally through several major transactions, including making our first direct investment into European logistics last year with Logistics Capital Partners.
“Logistics remains one of our highest conviction calls globally, benefitting from substantial undersupply of prime new space while the growth of e-commerce and demand for expedited supply chains continues unabated, accelerated by the effects of covid-19.
“The transaction represents a rare opportunity to gain significant exposure at attractive risk-adjusted returns in an increasingly competitive landscape.”
John Pagdin, head of UK logistics at Logistics Capital Partners, added: “We have been tracking this particular site for some time and are delighted to have secured the park alongside Oxford Properties.
“West Midlands Interchange is a fantastic opportunity to build out a uniquely positioned development scheme, allowing us to offer occupiers every possible size, scale, configuration and specification of unit with none of the usual planning delays or uncertainties often associated with schemes of this nature.
“We look forward to progressing first stage preparatory works and welcoming occupiers to this exciting project.”
Kilbride’s director Peter Frost said: “Having successfully guided the development from its inception and earliest stages to development consent, we are pleased Oxford Properties and Logistics Capital Partners will bring funding and specialist expertise to enable the project to now fulfil its huge potential.”