Construction begins at Oxford and LCP’s “groundbreaking” West Midlands Interchange project

L to R: James Boadle (Oxford Properties), Fin O’Brien (Winvic) Carl Harris (Winvic), Danny Cross (Winvic), Heidi Salmons (Winvic), James Markby (Logistics Capital Partners)

Oxford Properties Group, a leading global real estate investor, asset manager and business builder, and Logistics Capital Partners (LCP), a best-in-class developer and asset manager of logistics real estate across Europe, have begun construction work at the UK’s largest logistics development site, West Midlands Interchange.

Oxford and LCP acquired the site in joint venture in 2021 and will invest over £1 billion to develop the park, which will also provide intermodal access through a new Strategic Rail Freight Interchange.

The first phase of development has already commenced at the 734-acre site near Birmingham, comprises significant infrastructure works including earthworks, highways construction, water installation and the creation of two new country parks. The first plots will be available for vertical builds from the first half of next year with the site able to accommodate new warehouses ranging in size from 200,000 sq ft to over 1 million sq ft and building heights of up to 30 metres.

The site is centrally located in the UK, northwest of Birmingham in the key West Midlands logistics corridor and will deliver significant economic benefit to the region through the creation of 8,500 jobs. It is expected to generate £430 million local economic activity, and £900 million nationally every single year. It benefits from excellent transport connectivity to the UK’s major cities, ports, and airports, with immediate access to the M6 motorway allowing 88% of the population to be reached within a four-hour drive, well inside the HGV single trip limit.

West Midlands Interchange will be a technologically advanced and environmentally sustainable development that meets the significant demand from modern occupiers for high-quality, well-located space that can effectively satisfy their operational and environmental requirements.

The project is a major milestone in the decarbonisation of UK logistics. It aims to capitalise on the low CO2e output from rail in comparison to road freight, with 70% less CO2 output, up to 15 times lower nitrogen oxide emissions and nearly 90% lower particulate emissions, to support the UK’s net zero targets. WMI could remove as many as 77 HGVs from the road with every freight train, aiming to secure a reduction of 50 million kilometres of HGV traffic annually.

Throughout construction Oxford and LCP will be working on an Employment and Skills Plan to maximise opportunities for local people and businesses with a majority of the 8,500 jobs created to be local. Oxford and LCP also want to ensure that the WMI project includes providing employment, apprenticeships, and trainee positions for those who traditionally find themselves out of work. An Employment Fund Steering Group has been established in collaboration with the City of Wolverhampton, South Staffordshire Council and Staffordshire County Council to maximise these opportunities.

James Boadle, Head of Logistics and European Strategy at Oxford Properties, commented: “Demand for best-in-class logistics space that’s sustainable and well connected continues to significantly outstrip supply; especially in the UK’s ‘Golden Triangle’. With spades now in the ground, we are at the first step in the construction of this major project that we are undertaking alongside LCP.”

LCP Managing Partner, James Markby, said “We look forward to delivering what will be a world leading logistics hub, with a new Strategic Rail Freight Interchange, while delivering significant economic benefit to the region and nationally, and creating a milestone example for private investment that materially contributes towards a carbon net zero future.

Construction firm, Winvic have been appointed on the first phase of the construction. Rob Cook, Director of Civils and Infrastructure said, “Our team is experienced in delivering similar sustainable rail served logistics parks and in working collaboratively to give local people access to construction skills and employment.”