One of Yorkshire’s most active property companies has revealed that it has more than £80m worth of office, retail and industrial projects across the north of England and Wales in its development pipeline.
After an “excellent” 2014, Ilkley-based Opus North predicts it is heading for a record breaking year with multi-million pound schemes already underway in Leeds, Darlington and Stockton-on-Tees.
“These are exciting times in the commercial property market, with investment funds moving into the regions, and we intend to make the most of the opportunities out there,” commented Opus North director, Andrew Duncan. “Overall, 2014 was an excellent year for Opus North. As busy as we are, however, we remain on the look-out for attractive development opportunities.”
One of the firm’s biggest ongoing schemes is the transformation of the former MFI furniture factory site on Teesside into the 360,000 sq ft Opus Park. Five miles to the west of Middlesbrough, the £2.5m refurbishment offers industrial warehousing and distribution units up to 150,000 sq ft.
Thirteen miles away in Darlington its plans for a £10m retail park on the County Durham town’s Albert Road have been given the green light. It’s claimed the shopping complex, set to open late this year, will generate at least 150 jobs. Opus North has already secured an anchor tenant in budget retailer Aldi, and has attracted interest from a number of national names.
In its home county of Yorkshire Opus North has teamed up with manufacturing company, Guyson, to develop a £6.5m retail park on Keighley Road in Skipton. To include four bulky goods retail units, trade and do-it-yourself supplier Wickes is believed to be on the verge of signing up.
And after the recent sale of its prestigious development in Chester, Opus North has just received planning consent for a £17m retail and leisure park on a long-derelict site in Morecambe, Lancashire. The Bay Shopping Park would provide 100,000 sq ft of fashion and outlet shops, a hotel, restaurants, a family pub and 376 parking spaces on the former 10-acre Frontierland seafront fairground site.
Duncan said his company had been exceptionally busy during the past 12 months, taking advantage of renewed confidence in an improving UK economy.
“We have been incredibly busy, busier even than in the boom times before 2008,” he added. “The new confidence in the economy means that deals can be done, provided the location, the building and the price, for both leasing and buying, are right.
“We are especially pleased that our developments focus on all sectors of the commercial property market, from office to industrial and retail, underlining our breadth of experience and expertise,” said Duncan.
“Our long-term developments now boast a healthy rent roll and are almost full while our new schemes are attracting household names as tenants and occupiers.”
One-third owned by venture capital and fund manager Palmer Capital, Opus North has specialised in large mixed-use schemes including leisure, hotels and offices and the redevelopment of convenience stores for groups such as Lidl and Co-op.