Contact Us

3 Numbers You Need To Know About Arden Cross

The new Arden Cross masterplan has been published, transforming the 346-acre site where the M42 motorway, the airport, the new high-speed rail line HS2 and the NEC campus meet.

The plan, to be delivered over 20 years, will transform the West Midlands by building on existing plans, like more commercial offices, retail and even a film studio on the NEC site.

Bisnow drills down to find the three key details.

The Arden Cross site, Solihull

Four Zones

The site has been divided into four zones, and will be developed in numerical order. Zone 1 is around the station. Zone 4, which will add to whatever worked best in zones 1 to 3, could be residential. But the important thing about the zones is that they could all be separate (but connected) campuses for large occupiers or well-organised clusters. The masterplan talks of attracting “the most forward thinking nationally significant industries to the area,” and promises to work with government to secure them.

“The structure of the masterplan enables a single occupier (public or private) to take one of the zones with the potential to create a campus facility,” the masterplan said.

Zone 4 is the wild card.

“As the second largest phase — the uses here will ultimately be determined by the success of earlier phases … this phase will be low cost in terms of infrastructure and support high values which have matured through the earlier phases,” the masterplan said.

Research, development and advanced manufacturing might also find a home in Zone 4, but the mix with residential could inhibit alternative uses.

9.9M SF 

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 it is unlikely to be bland offices or standard M42 corridor low-rise. This will be knowledge-based. There is space in Zone 1 for an innovation campus and there are plans to link this to an academic university campus.

“This will house a combination of research and development facilities with high value manufacturing accommodation, aimed at enhancing the range of employment opportunities at UK Central,” the masterplan said. “In addition, this district will feature the opportunity for co-location of higher educational campuses, providing academic support and internship for students, together with industry partners.”

This will be a key part of Arden Cross’ “innovation employment corridor.”

13.8 acres

A total of 40 acres will be devoted to research and development use, scattered across the 11 development plots although predominantly in plots F, O, G, 2, 3 and 8. But the one to watch is the 13.8-acre plot in Area 0 at Arden Cross’ south-east corner. This is the largest single plot in the scheme and is identified in the drawings as occupied by a single large building with an interior courtyard: think the doughnut-shaped GCHQ building in Cheltenham, only more irregularly shaped. This could be a prize for a big-name occupier.