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Innovation Centre, the landmark building at the junction of the Bristol Road and Longbridge Lane on Longbridge Technology Park, the catalyst for the long-term regeneration of the vast former MG Rover site, was formally opened today by Liam Byrne, MP, Regional Minister for the West Midlands.

St Modwen, the UK¹s leading regeneration specialist, in association with Advantage West Midlands, developed the 45,000 sq ft  centre for start-up and growing technology businesses as part of the first phase of the 40-acre technology park alongside the A38.

Mr Byrne also used the opening to launch the West Midlands Economic Strategy and the draft of the West Midlands Spatial Strategy which provide a road map for the future prosperity of the region.

He said: ³Longbridge Innovation Centre is a fantastic symbol of how the aims of both the Economic Strategy and the Spatial Strategy can be achieved, bringing jobs and homes to our region. Here we had  a derelict and polluted piece of land left redundant as a result of economic restructuring in the West Midlands.

³The combined efforts of everybody involved – both public sector bodies and the private sector – has resulted in the first step towards the creation of a new community at Longbridge and a facility that will house the major employers of the future.

³Over the next 15 years we will see the creation of 10,000 jobs and 1,000 homes on this site, just one of the developments which will help the West Midlands achieve the targets we are setting out today.²

Sixteen firms employing a total of more than 110 people have already moved into the high quality serviced accommodation, and other firms are in negotiations to set up business in the centre in the New Year.

Among the occupiers are IT company Netstore plc  which employs 21 people and has relocated from Rubery, and Co-operative Web, one of only two IT worker co-operatives in the country, who were the first tenants to move in.

Anthony Glossop, Chairman of St Modwen, described  Innovation Centre  as a flagship  for the huge  enterprising  project designed to transform the Longbridge area over the next 15 years.

³We estimate that 10,000 jobs will be created by the ambitious regeneration programme designed to establish a new, vibrant and sustainable community in Longbridge.  Development of the first phase of the Technology Park and the development of  new manufacturing and distribution space at the Cofton Centre, formerly Rover¹s parts centre, will together produce employment for more 1,300  people.²

Mike Murray, Senior Development Surveyor for  St  Modwen, said: ³Less than

12 months after the massive regeneration programme began on the 340 -acre former car works,  new businesses are already opening  on  the site.

³The Innovation Centre  is now 40 per cent let  and we have completed  a second  31,200 sq ft building  on the technology park  which is designed to assist more established  businesses to develop.²

Nick Paul, Advantage West Midlands Chairman, said: ³Longbridge Innovation Centre is a fantastic example of what the existing West Midlands Strategy has achieved and what we need to continue to deliver for the West Midlands.

³The West Midlands economy has a £10 billion output gap against the national average which we need to close – the West Midlands Economic Strategy gives us the means by which we can achieve this.²

Notes to Editor

Longbridge  Technology Park is a key location within the Central Technology Belt (CTB) along the A38. The University of Birmingham has joined forces with St Modwen and AWM in supporting the Innovation Centre by providing business support and access to financial support schemes.

St Modwen has started work on the first  74,500 sq ft phase of new development on the Cofton Centre, scheduled for completion next Spring. This phase will create the potential for an additional 300 jobs.

Some three  million sq ft of buildings – the equivalent of  75  full-sized football pitches – have been demolished clearing the way for a programme of regeneration currently in the masterplanning stage after extensive public consultation.

For further information contact Mike Murray of St Modwen (0121 222 9400) or Mat Danks of AWM (0121 503 3228). Issued by Paul Raymer of Howle Chapman Raymer (0121 333 1000).