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Arden Cross Landlords Deepen Pact Ahead Of Developer Selection

A triangle of possibilities: the Arden Cross site from the air

Prospects for the 346-acre Arden Cross development next to the new HS2 station at Birmingham International has taken a leap forward, with landowners agreeing to pool their freeholds to help secure developer interest.

Birmingham City Council has agreed to pool the freehold of its 97-acre slice of the site with three other major landowners. The decision comes four months after an ambitious new 10M SF-plus masterplan was revealed.

The move clears the way to securing a developer for a site that the landowners have “no intentions to develop themselves,” a report to councillors said.

Birmingham City Council, Packington Estate, Wingfield/Digby Estate and Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council have deepened their partnership with a new landowner option agreement and revised shareholders agreement. 

The landowner agreement will transfer all the owners’ freeholds into the ownership of Arden Cross Limited at the point when a developer who will manage the development and disposal of the site has been successfully identified, a report to Council Leader Ian Ward said.

The new arrangement takes the landowners a stage further in collaboration and follows a five-year shared marketing agreement dating from 2014, which turned into a limited company in 2018, at which point the landowners entered into an option agreement with each other and the company they had formed.

The latest blueprint for the proposed development of the Arden Cross site was published in July 2020.

The gross external area of new floorspace will total 9.9M SF, of which 4.6M SF will be offices and around 3.5M SF residential. But the promotional brochure suggests this is unlikely to be bland offices or standard M42 corridor low-rise. Instead, the focus will be on knowledge-based occupiers. There is space in zone 1 of the scheme for an innovation campus, and there are plans to link this to an academic university campus.