The top 5 most important things to consider when developing an industrial site – a Midlands focus

Mar 2, 2020

1) Demographics

With many of the major logistics operators and manufacturing companies located within the Midlands, a skilled and experienced workforce is located here. The Midlands benefits from the following;

  • One of the UK’s largest labour pulls.
  • Potential salary savings of circa 15% against the national average.
  • Population growth higher than the national average.
  • A large number of skilled workforce located in the areas based on the concentration of universities within the Midlands. This is imperative for manufacturers to be able to access.

Source: Nomis

2) Access and Infrastructure

It goes without saying that any industrial site has to benefit from good access onto and off the motorway network. The Midlands motorway hub covers the key sections of the M42, M5 and M6 and is at the very heart of the UK’s strategic road network.

3) UK Location

The Midlands is uniquely placed for accessing a large amount of the UK’s population, with c.58 million people within a 3 hour drive time of the area. This therefore means that the Midlands is perfectly located for distributers looking to access the largest number of the population. Whilst the Midlands still retains its title as the UK’s ‘Capital’ for manufacturing, the ‘Midlands engine’ has plenty of grounds for optimism with a massive investment in the region from manufacturing businesses.

Manse Opus have developed one of the largest manufacturing sheds in the UK for over a decade, comprising 490,000 sq. ft of B2 accommodation, at our site, Prospero Ansty. This is indicative of the confidence of manufacturers in the UK, who need developers such as ourselves to deliver best in class units which allow them to innovate and exceed the capability of their competition.

4) Specification

To us, every project is a unique, living work in its own right. It should fit with its own environment and be sustainable. It should fit with its surroundings and not jar and it should be right for everyone who uses it and evoke a real sense of place. This is something that we take great pride in at Opus Land and have worked collaboratively over the years with countless occupiers to deliver them market leading, state of the art facilities to springboard growth in their business.

Factors such as sustainability, longevity of a building’s lifespan and units specific to an occupier’s requirements can no longer be items that are simply overlooked by developers. These are the key to unlocking buildings that not only stand the test of time but fit like a glove to the occupiers’ businesses.

5) Funding

Opus Land are in the unique position of having access to in-house capital from Fiera Real Estate, however, we also have numerous joint venture partnerships with whom we have delivered buildings for very successfully in the past. These range from freehold turnkeys for various occupiers, speculative developments for institutional funds through, to long income pre-let investments to the annuity funds. Whatever the project, it is key to ensure that your funding streams are flexible enough to meet the requirements of the project and that is something that we have been able to do very successfully at Opus Land.

Many buildings are now highly bespoke, especially those manufacturing facilities that we have been involved with so frequently of late and we need to ensure that they are met with the understanding required from the funding market. Similarly, the distribution sector again where units are highly bespoke to occupiers, sometimes with a large degree of mechanisation in place can cross stop facilities that these units are understood by the funding market and are liquid assets for investors.

Written by Victoria Turnbull, Joint Managing Director, Opus Land

RETAIL: Stove Works Retail Park, Royal Leamington Spa

Opus Land and Savills Investment Management purchased a brownfield site, which was formerly a Ford Factory car park and obtained planning for a 60,000 sq. ft retail space, located just 0.5 miles from the town centre and 15 minutes’ walk from the train station.

INDUSTRIAL: Prospero, Ansty

Together with their joint venture partner, Manse LLP, and on behalf of Rolls-Royce, Opus Land are delivering more than 2 million sq. ft of space at Prospero, Ansty, starting with a 490,000 sq. ft manufacturing facility for Meggitt PLC.

WAREHOUSE: Conneqt Alpha

Opus Land and Bridges completed an 153,800 sq. ft unit with 16 loading doors at the Kingwood Lakeside Business Park in Cannock.

OFFICES: 54 Hagley Road, Birmingham

A 160,950 sq. ft multi-let office, three miles from Birmingham city centre which underwent a comprehensive refurbishment programme by Opus Land and was sold for £24.25m.