Planning granted for 780,000 sq ft mixed-use scheme at HQ site of automotive and aerospace manufacturer

Plans have been granted to redevelop a 47 acre brownfield site in Solihull into a major mixed-use scheme to provide 570 houses and 145,000 sq ft of commercial space.

M7 Developments, the planning and development arm of M7 Real Estate, secured planning consent from Solihull Borough Council for the transformation of the site called The Green.

The project will also include a total of 154 senior living units, which are being developed by McCarthy & Stone and Restful Homes, and 145,000 sq ft of commercial space for up to five car dealerships, including a prestige showroom for Aston Martin, which is due to start construction in the autumn.

The Green is the historic headquarters of automotive and aerospace manufacturer, Lucas Industries, now part of global engineering company ZF Group, which will be relocating to a new purpose-built complex at the nearby Blythe Valley Business Park.

M7 acquired The Green in December 2015 from Prudential and is undertaking the redevelopment in phases, with ZF remaining a tenant whilst its new premises are built.

M7 Developments has also secured a new commercial property loan from Merseyside Pension Fund, advised by Mayfair Capital Investment Management, to finance the project, replacing a UK clearing bank.

M7 Developments, advised by Savills, recently completed the sale of the first phase of the residential development to housebuilder Charles Church, part of Persimmon. which will develop 242 homes ranging from one bed apartments to four bed houses.

The first residential units are expected to complete in late 2020, with the overall redevelopment of the site targeted for completion in around 2024.

The project is expected to generate around 475 jobs.

Hugh Ellingham, CEO of M7 Developments, said: “The Green is a complex and sizeable brownfield regeneration project and this planning success is a major step forward as we begin to realise our vision for the scheme. Working closely with our partners and a responsive local planning authority, the project is really starting to take shape. Having launched M7 Developments earlier this year, this is also a strong illustration of how the depth and breadth of M7’s activities is expanding, and we have several brownfield projects in the pipeline that we look forward to undertaking in the future.”

James Thornton, chief executive of Mayfair, added: “At this point in the cycle, given continued risk aversion from traditional lenders, commercial debt is an appealing way of generating attractive income returns in a continuing low interest rate environment.”