Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street has explained the crucial role of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) in kickstarting the new £11million Sheldon Retail Park.
The Mayor, a retail champion and former CEO of John Lewis, said the WMCA provided £7.35million from the Collective Investment Fund (CIF) to ensure derelict the two-acre site could be developed.
He spoke at the official opening of the new Marks & Spencer Foodhall today (Wednesday Sept 25), which completes the retail park on the A45 Coventry Road.
It’s hoped more than 200 jobs will be created at the park, which also features B&M Bargains and The Gym.
Mr Street said: “As chair of the WMCA and Mayor of the West Midlands, I have put my retail knowledge and passion into our approach to commercial developments. We are unlocking land that would simply not get developed without our intervention and funding, to enable big projects like the Sheldon Retail Park to go ahead.
“This latest development, which features more than £7m of WMCA funding, mixes traditional retailers with leisure facilities, and it is great to see a high-calibre, high street stalwart like M&S opening a store here.
“The WMCA is committed to helping the high street and investing in land for developments that help to improve local communities – just like Sheldon Retail Park will do.”
Tim Haslam from developers Chase Midland Estates said funding from the WMCA’s Collective Investment Fund had helped to speed up the project.
He said: “M&S was one of the first names to sign up for the Sheldon Retail Park, and we’re proud to have delivered such a high-quality mixed-use scheme for the benefit of local people.
"The Gym, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, adds local exercise facilities on people’s doorstep, and there has been much excitement from local people about bringing big high street names like B&M and M&S to Sheldon.
“It feels very satisfying to see the retail park fully open and we hope local people will enjoy shopping and exercising here for many years to come.”
Frontier Development Capital Ltd provided access to the funding, and works closely with the WMCA to unlock land for commercial development.
Gerald Gannaway, investment director for Frontier Development Capital’s Property Team, said: “This site at the A45 Coventry Road had been out of use for some time, but the WMCA was able to use money from its Collective Investment Fund to help bring forward the development of Sheldon Retail Park.
“We’re working with the WMCA to unlock land to create job opportunities, leisure facilities and attract top-quality businesses to boost local communities across the West Midlands, and Sheldon Retail Park is a prime example of what can be achieved through our focussed approach.”
The WMCA has set aside hundreds of millions of pounds to kick-start stalled commercial and residential developments, predominantly on brownfield land.
For more information on the Collective Investment Fund click here.