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Opus North On Course For A “Record-Breaking Year”

Posted on 14th January 2015

Leading northern property developer and investor Opus North is on course for a record-breaking 2015, with a current development pipeline of in excess £80 million.

The Ilkley-based company is undertaking developments across the North of England and Wales, including prime office, retail and industrial projects in Leeds, Morecambe, Llandudno, Darlington and Stockton-on-Tees.

Opus North Director Andrew Duncan said that the 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 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. Our long-term developments now boast a healthy rent roll and are almost full,” explained Mr Duncan, “while our new schemes are attracting household names as tenants and occupiers.”

Opus North, which is funded by Palmer Capital the venture capital and fund manager specialising in property, is currently undertaking three significant developments in Yorkshire.
At the Bourse, a high-quality office building in Boar Lane in central Leeds, wealth management firm The Private Office (TPO) has recently taken additional space of 4,000 sq ft on the second floor of Sterling House, one of the three self-contained buildings within the 50,000 sq ft building. Meanwhile national insurance brokers JLT have committed to 8,000 sq ft, and Italian dental clinic group Microdentistry have taken over 3,000 sf for their first uk clinic meaning only 2,500 sq ft is left to lease in the Bourse. These suites are also receiving considerable interest

In Armley, Opus North has recently signed up for a derelict four-acre site, previously occupied by DENSO Marston, the thermal cooling systems manufacturer. The company plans to transform and improving local shopping facilities. A number of national retailers are already lined up as tenants.

Further north, in Darlington, a major £10 million retail park in Albert Road has been given the green light. It will create 150 jobs in Darlington and be open by the end of this year. The scheme is anchored by Aldi alongside a number of national retailers

In Skipton, Opus North is working in conjunction with manufacturing company Guyson to develop a £6.5 million retail park on Keighley Road, which would feature four bulky goods retail units, including Wickes DIY. Following extensive local consultation, this project is awaiting planning approval.

At the same time the 360,000 sq ft Opus Park, which has been developed on the site of the old MFI factory site at Stockton-on-Tees, has been transformed into a modern, industrial warehouse complex with unit sizes up to 150,000 sq ft. It is situated in the heart of Stockton’s Preston Farm Industrial Estate, adjacent to the A66.

Andrew Duncan explained: “Opus North bought the 16.5-acre site after MFI announced that it was to close its Stockton factory. It is one of the largest available manufacturing sites in the North-East. Nine deals have been agreed with occupiers and there is only 93,000 sq ft, which can split, rented or bought.”

The company is also strengthening its position in the North West of England and Wales. Having recently sold its prestigious development in Chester, Opus North is now focussing on a major project in Morecambe, where plans have been consented for a £17m retail and leisure park.
The company wants to build a quality 100,000 sq ft complex of fashion shops, a hotel, restaurants, a family pub and 376 parking spaces on the former 10-acre Frontierland fairground site at Morecambe Bay. Approved by planners, the new Bay Shopping Park, which is adjacent to a 70,000 sq ft Morrison’s store, will create 500 jobs and fill the site on Morecambe Promenade, transforming this long-derelict site and providing much-needed accommodation to suit modern retailers
Andrew Duncan revealed that several well-known stores were interested in coming to the new retail and leisure park.
“We are proud to be bringing forward major investment in a well-known but disused site,” said Mr Duncan. “It is our intention to create a lasting legacy of jobs and investment for Morecambe.”
Two retail and leisure-led projects in Wales, in Llandudno and Aberystwyth, complete Opus North’s current development pipeline.

He added: “Overall, 2014 has been an excellent year for Opus North, with developments stretching across the north of England and Wales. However, busy as we are, we remain on the look-out for attractive development opportunities. 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”.

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