West Yorkshire-based property and investment company Opus North has sold a new retail park in Darlington to the British Steel Pension Fund for an undisclosed sum.
The four-acre Darlington North Retail Park, which is almost fully let, will create 150 jobs and be open by the spring of 2016.
Occupiers signed up for Darlington North include retail giants Aldi, Poundland and Iceland, together with a KFC Drive Thru restaurant, Card Factory, Jolleys Pet Store and Barnados.
The park will be built on land on Albert Road, next to its junction with North Road and Whessoe Road, with work starting on site in June. Stainforth Construction are the main contractors.
Andrew Duncan, managing director of Opus North, commented: “The sale of Darlington North is a massive endorsement of Darlington as a retail location. We have worked hard, from assembling the land which was under different ownerships, to securing a raft of very popular and successful retail occupiers, so this sale is a satisfying conclusion.”
“We have also co-operated closely and successfully with planners at Darlington Borough Council. This is a very exciting development for the town of Darlington, creating jobs and boosting the economy.”
Opus North is funded by Palmer Capital, the London-based private equity real estate investment management company.
The 42,000 sq ft park comprises nine units, including the new 16,480 sq ft Aldi supermarket; the KFC drive thru’ restaurant; the 6,907 sq ft Iceland Foods store; and the range of non-food retail units. There is one 1,400 sq ft retail unit still available to lease. All the units offer modern retail warehouse accommodation and there will be 157 free car parking spaces.
Mr Duncan explained: “We have had excellent feedback from local residents and businesses and we were grateful to know they were positive about our proposals, like the planners. The retail park will bring a range of retailers not currently located in this part of town, improving choice and convenience for local shoppers.”
Councillor Bill Dixon, Leader of Darlington Borough Council said: “This exciting new development is great news for the town, bringing in 150 new jobs and further choice of shops to the public. It’s fantastic to see another developer putting their faith in Darlington, proving it’s a town worth investing in. I’m confident that this will be another popular destination for shoppers from both inside and outside of the borough.”
The development site is prominently situated on the new junction on A167, which is the main arterial route north from Darlington town centre. Adjacent retailers are Morrisons, B&Q and B&M Bargains, alongside other established trade counter uses. The A167 is just two miles from the A1(M) as well as being very close to Darlington railway station, which is on the East Coast Main Line London-to-Edinburgh route.