3rd September 2020

Birmingham development deal could create 900 new jobs

CGI of plans by St Francis Group to build eight new industrial units on the GKN Aerospace and Pilkington Automotive site in Kings Norton

A property development group has acquired a site in south Birmingham to build a warehousing and logistics hub which it says could create 900 new jobs.

Henley-based St Francis has bought the GKN Aerospace and Pilkington Automotive sites covering 29 acres in Kings Norton in an undisclosed deal.

It is now planning to build 400,000 sq ft of speculative industrial space across eight units, ranging from 25,000 sq ft to 70,000 sq ft.

The project will be funded by Black Country-based property investors the Richardson family who famously led the development of Dudley's Merry Hill centre in the 1980s.

This is the third collaboration between the two after they previously developed and sold industrial estates Velocity42 in Redditch and Cransley Park in Kettering.

A detailed planning application will be submitted later this year with work scheduled to begin once the existing occupiers vacate next year.

Last year, GKN Aerospace announced it was axing 170 jobs and carrying out a phased closure of its Kings Norton factory where it produces high-performance windscreens and windows for civilian and military aircraft, with work transferring to other sites.

Pilkington Automotive is consolidating its operations into a new, larger warehouse in nearby Redditch.

St Francis director Gareth Williams said: "We are delighted to have secured these strategic sites and to be able to promote a scheme in the heart of the greater Birmingham conurbation.

"We recognise the value in higher performing sustainable assets and so we are looking to develop units using construction standards that exceed occupier expectations throughout their life cycle."

Subject to planning consent, the new units will be ready for occupation by the end of 2022.

Property firms Savills and JLL have been appointed as letting agencies on the scheme where marketing will start immediately for pre-let deals.


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