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Can JLL Tempt Global Investors To 346-Acre Arden Cross?

Arden Cross masterplan, emerging through the clouds

JLL has six weeks to tempt global investors to make a reality of £3.2B in proposals for Arden Cross.

The landowners at the 346-acre Arden Cross site have tasked JLL to find “an investment and development partner” to back the mixed-use scheme, close to the NEC campus and the M42 motorway.

The partner will deliver 6M SF of commercial floorspace and up to 3,000 new homes built around the new HS2 Interchange Station.

The expectation is that developer/investor consortia will step forward. The first task will be to complete a masterplan, and the first phases are likely to be the result of a development agreement. Later, the relationship could deepen so the landlords and the developers/investors form a joint venture.

"We hope to longlist in six weeks, and finalise a shortlist by the end of the year," Arden Cross Limited Chair Ben Gray told Bisnow.

"Arden Cross will appeal to international and domestic developers and investors encouraged by the transformational changes in the Midlands’ regional economy and the significant opportunity presented by this extensive, cohesive and connected mixed-use scheme,” JLL Head of Investor-Developer Clients Alistair Meadows said.

The last time a major development competition was run for a substantial site on the Birmingham/Solihull borders, it resulted in a local winner. IM Properties was selected as development partner at the 175-acre Peddimore site in 2018.

IM defeated U.S. rival Prologis. The Arden Cross development is, however, likely to appeal more widely, particularly among developers targeting the science sector.

Birmingham City Council, Packington Estate, Wingfield/Digby Estate and Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council are the shareholders at Arden Cross Limited.

The move comes after the site’s landowners agreed a new partnership, clearing the way to securing a developer for a site that the landowners have “no intentions to develop themselves,” a report to councillors said.

Arden Cross Limited's Gray said the appointment of advisers was “a significant step towards attracting a partner who will be able to capitalise on the masterplan principles to unlock the transformational Arden Cross vision and deliver a world class destination”. 

Related Topics: HS2, Arden Cross, Birmingham offices