Global engineering group signs up to £26m speculative scheme

Andrew Cosnett, Bromwich Hardy, Rachael Clarke, IM Properties, Neil Howlett, Hofer Powertrain Products UK.

A hi-tech global automotive engineering group has signed a 15 year lease at IM Properties’ (IMP) Connexion campus at Blythe Valley Park (BVP), to manufacture a new hybrid transmission system.

Connexion is a £26m speculative development near the M42 offering five high-spec units from 31,000 sq ft to 56,500 sq ft.

Hofer powertrain products, set up by hofer powertrain in Leamington and a joint venture with German company, ElringKlinger, will establish their advanced engineering facility at the 47,000 sq ft hi-spec unit and employ up to 50 people.

Creating products for premium UK sportscar brands, Neil Howlett, head of operations at hofer powertrain products UK said when they began researching potential locations, there were two main criteria.

He said the site had to be within the West Midlands hot-spot for automotive engineering talent, to attract the best skills, and also had to be close to main road links to potential automotive OEMs, along the M40/42 corridor.

“We looked at several schemes in the area, but Connexion is a campus with a premium look and feel, within its own landscaping, good security and infrastructure.” says Howlett.

“Recruiting and retaining top talent is a key priority to us. We were attracted to the human side of the business park and the value BVP put on people.

“It has leisure facilities and a coffee shop allowing employees to take a break, go out for a walk or run and enjoy the surrounding parkland. It also has a crèche facility for our team with young families allowing convenience and a more balanced lifestyle.”

Hofer power products is also looking to set up an apprenticeship scheme and hopes to work with local universities, to take undergraduates for placements and teach the practical side of the engineering business.

“We hope to be able to give something back to the West Midlands talent pool,” added Howlett.

“Being part of Hofer and Elringklinger could allow students the scope to develop their skills in a number of automotive sectors and experience working in different facilities around the world.”

Rachael Clarke, development manager at IMP who has overseen the speculative development of the Connexion scheme, said:
“The lack of availability in this prime location, quality of the business park and access to labour gave us the confidence to speculatively develop one of the only new-build multi-let industrial estates in the midlands, which is reflected in the rent of £7.75 per square foot we’ve achieved.

“Whilst the BVP location is ideal for ‘last mile’ logistics, Connexion’s high quality design and setting also appeals to tech industries.

“It’s very well connected too and as hofer powertrain products is German backed, they like the fact that we run a shuttle bus to and from the airport in the morning and at night.”

CBRE and Savills act as joint agents on BVP. Andrew Cosnett from Bromwich Hardy acted for Hofer powertrain products.

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