One of the largest regeneration projects in the West Midlands has taken a step forward this week, with property developer HBD exchanging contracts with Walsall Council and Homes England on the Phoenix 10 regeneration scheme.
Once home to the James Bridge Copper Works, the 44-acre site in Walsall has been derelict for over 20 years. Now, it’s set to become a centre for enterprise once again with up to 620,000 sq. ft. of employment space, attracting new jobs and investment to the region.
HBD will deliver Phoenix 10 on behalf of Walsall Council and Homes England, supported by funding from both partners, along with the Black Country LEP and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) which has agreed a multi-million pound funding deal to undertake the remediation works.
The site is the largest undeveloped brownfield plot in the Black Country. Its location will be a big draw for occupiers - visible from the M6 and accessed via Junction 9, it’s one of the region’s most well-located sites.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “Before the coronavirus outbreak the West Midlands economy was making great progress with the region seen as one of the best places in the UK to invest in jobs and housing.
“The last few months have been tough but we are working hard to ensure that we will rebuild from this pandemic stronger than ever – getting our local economy back on track. The appointment of HBD to construct Phoenix 10 shows how that recovery is already underway and that market confidence in the West Midlands remains strong.
“Phoenix 10 is another wonderful example of how here in the West Midlands we are continuing to use government funding to breathe new life into former industrial sites to deliver jobs, business and prosperity for the Black Country and beyond.”
Vivienne Clements, executive director at HBD, said: “This is one of the most significant industrial and logistics schemes coming forward in the West Midlands - both in terms of scale and its potential to drive business growth and investment.
“HBD has more than 40 years’ experience delivering large-scale regeneration schemes like this, returning disused sites back to positive use and creating new jobs and opportunities for communities across the UK. This is a great opportunity to bring new investment into the area and we look forward to getting started on site.”
Community engagement on the proposals will commence shortly and planning will be submitted shortly thereafter, with remediation works expected to begin in 2021.
Lucy Blasdale, development director for Homes England, said: “We are committed to using our land and investment to help stimulate local economic growth and this project highlights our commitment as it will deliver new commercial space and ultimately jobs. This is the result of a collaborative partnership with Walsall Council, the Black Country LEP, WMCA and HBD. We have worked with our public sector partners to find the right delivery partner in HBD who have a strong track record in these types of sites and funding solution. The exchange of the legal agreements represents a significant step forward in the regeneration of this large, formerly developed site.”
Deputy leader of Walsall Council, Cllr Adrian Andrew said: “We have been working for many years to make a success of this site and this is a massive step forward. Phoenix 10 is a sleeping giant and the clean-up and redevelopment of the site will contribute to the economic recovery of Walsall and the wider region. The site provides the council and its partners with a number of challenges which we will need to overcome but we are excited to now really get started. The signing up appointment of HBD as our development partner is another important stage on that journey.”
Tom Westley DL, Chair of the Black Country LEP Board, said: “This is a fantastic step forward for the Black Country as well as the region as a whole. Phoenix 10 is an important part of the Black Country Enterprise Zone, the redevelopment of this site brings jobs, growth and investment, ensuring that we continue to put the Black Country on the map as a world-class manufacturing centre. We look forward to seeing progress on site.”
In addition to its Birmingham base, HBD also has offices in London, Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Bristol and Glasgow. Its diverse, UK-wide portfolio includes big-brand retail, office space and logistics, through to residential innovation and award-winning heritage projects.
Pinsent Masons acted for HBD, Homes England was represented by Browne Jacobson and Walsall Council was advised by DWF.