WMCA investment backs regeneration of Longbridge car plant with £780k

Previously derelict, the site will provide vital jobs and services. The WMCA investment facilitated by FDC from the Brownfield Land and Property Development Fund (BLPDF) has made the development viable.

Another key scheme in the on-going regeneration of the former MG Rover car plant in Longbridge is being backed by a £780,000 funding deal from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

More than 400 new jobs are expected to be created by 2 Park Square which will see 60,000sq ft of high-quality commercial office space built on a 1.6 acre derelict plot on the site of the once famous car works.

Working alongside partner St. Modwen, the scheme is the latest planned development in the regeneration of Longbridge which has already seen more than 3,700 jobs created. On completion, the wider transformation of the area is expected to create around 9,000 permanent jobs and deliver an estimated economic boost of £500m a year.

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said:

“This derelict site was once a thriving hub of industry, and now it can once again provide jobs and services for the region. Our funding will assist in closing the viability gap needed to get the redevelopment of this part of the Longbridge site underway.

“We may still be in the eye of the Covid storm but we have refused to let it knock us off course. Throughout the pandemic we have continued to invest in the regeneration of brownfield land across the region and put in place the building blocks we will need for a successful economic recovery that can provide decent jobs and good quality affordable homes for local people.”

The 2 Park Square scheme is seen as vital in building on the success of the Longbridge Innovation Centre and other nearby workplaces. Existing businesses in the area have grown and now require additional space to continue their expansion but the scheme also provides space for smaller businesses to occupy and expand.

The development’s larger spaces are also aimed at attracting bigger firms to the area and help drive further momentum in Longbridge as a business destination.

Rob Flavell, senior director at St. Modwen, said:

“Our partnership with the WMCA continues to grow and help unlock the exciting pipeline of jobs, homes and beautiful public realm spaces that will create an amazing place.

“The WMCA’s support is key to delivering the huge benefit that Longbridge can contribute to the West Midlands.”

At its height in the 1960s, Longbridge was one of the world’s biggest car factories, employing tens of thousands of people producing ground-breaking vehicles like the Mini.

But a steady decline led to the collapse 15 years ago of the site’s final occupier, MG Rover, with the loss of the plant’s remaining 6,000 jobs.

St. Modwen acquired the site in 2003 and the 2 Park Square project will see significant further private sector investment through the company.

St. Modwen will invest £13.5m in the scheme as part of a wider £1 billion investment to transform Longbridge into a modern, attractive environment where people want to live, work and spend their leisure time.

Located next to St. Modwen’s head office, Bournville College, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s, the scheme features a Grade A, four-storey commercial office building designed to provide modern, flexible workspace with an emphasis on employee wellbeing.

The building will be operationally carbon neutral with its own roof garden and outdoor terrace spaces and will overlook the attractive Austin Park and River Rea.

Access to funding was provided by FDC, led by Kieren Turner-Owen, Associate Director – Property, who said:

“I am delighted we’ve been able to assist with this development, helping to  continue St Modwens long term plans for Longbridge which have already seen a significant changes.”

FDC works closely with property developers to arrange WMCA investment from the Commercial Investment Fund (CIF), Residential Investment Fund (RIF) and Brownfield Land and Property Development Fund (BLPDF).

The Longbridge deal follows a series of landmark funding commitments over the last nine months for the regeneration of derelict industrial land, often referred to as brownfield, and is part of the WMCA’s nationally leading brownfield regeneration programme.

For more information on FDC property funds head to our Property page.

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