St Modwen Properties PLC, one of the country’s leading regeneration specialists, has completed the purchase of 53 acres of surplus land at Jaguar Engineering Centre, Whitley, Coventry, for the creation of a high-class business park, to be known as Whitley Business Park, that will have the potential for generating in excess of 2,000 new jobs.
The acquisition of 40.5 acres from Jaguar and 12.5 acres from Coventry City Council for a total of £13.67 million opens the way for a major capital project investment of £120 million. The development of the site is designed to restore business confidence in the region’s economy with the development of approximately 1.1 million sq ft of predominately high quality office and business space and complimentary industrial/distribution units.
Whitley Business Park is located at the junction of the A45/A46 interchange, two miles south-east of the city centre and close to Coventry Airport. Outline planning consent was granted in 2001 and St Modwen secured reserved matters approved last December. The site is allocated as employment land within Coventry’s Local Plan.
“This is good news all round,” explained Paul Smith of St Modwen. “We are delighted to complete the acquisition of this strategic site. It enables us to press ahead with the infrastructure work for the development in late summer which includes constructing a new northern entrance to the site and improving the existing access and car parking for Jaguar.
“It is a key strategic site for Coventry and the development will assist the region in shifting from a manufacturing base to a business/service sector. Jaguar will retain their presence on site in the form of their existing Engineering Centre.”
He added that the business park would be a flagship development which will attract new businesses and establish this area as a major centre of employment. The development will be able to accommodate buildings of up to 300,000 sq ft which would be suitable for a number of large companies with requirements for headquarters in a prestigious, well-landscaped environment. It is hoped that the first buildings will be ready for occupation by May 2008.
John McGuigan, Director of City Development, Coventry City Council, said: “This is further evidence of the changing and vibrant economy of the city. St Modwen are well regarded developers who have been keen to involve themselves in Coventry’s regeneration for several years. They now have one of the most attractive business sites in the whole of the Midlands. We will continue to work with them to bring new employment to the city.”
* This is the second major motor manufacturing site in the West Midlands that St Modwen is to redevelop. The first phase of a 40-acre technology park, in partnership with Advantage West Midlands, is nearing completion at Longbridge, Birmingham, and marks the commencement of the 15-year programme to redevelop 340-acres of the former MG Rover site.
For further information contact Paul Smith (0121 222 9400). Issued by Paul Raymer of Howle Chapman Raymer (0121 236 7771).