Developers are being sought for a key site seen as crucial in the regeneration of a Black Country town.
Jones Lang LaSalle is looking for companies to transform 2.2 acres of brownfield land at the western end of the Town Wharf development where more than 300 homes and apartments and a hotel are under construction.
Walsall has enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent years with a new hospital, college and art gallery and Philip Farrell, a surveyor in Jones Lang LaSalle’s Birmingham office, described the site as “the final piece in a complex array of schemes” but was not without its challenges.
“It’s a rare chance for a developer with the right skills - and an ambitious design vision - to create a genuine gateway, in one of the region’s biggest urban centres,” he said.
“Dudley’s Waterfront scheme was a crucial moment in its economic expansion, Wolverhampton has chosen to invest heavily in and around its transport hubs, and this scheme is just as important for Walsall’s future.
“I can’t think of anything here which has been as important in the last decade, which is why the council will place such a high premium on the design elements, and on the quality of the completed scheme, as well as the public space.
“The new hospital, which is nearby, cost £170 million, Walsall’s new FE college’s Building and Leaning Campus can accommodate 12,000 students, and a 100-bedroom Premier Inn is under construction at the waterfront, so this site has to match that level of scale and investment.
“Many developers won’t have the ambition or resources to take on Walsall Lex, so we know from the start that we are looking for something special.
“It’s a strategic location for the council, and they see it as ideal for leisure uses, such as a hotel, conference space or a cinema.
“The land also connects the second phase of the Town Wharf, so it would be possible to really maximise the opportunity on offer, by consolidating the new-build space with the earlier developments.
“Unlike many Black Country locations, there are not believed to be any historic mining features or abandoned workings on, or near Walsall Lex, but there will need to be some small-scale remediation.
“The biggest challenge will be access from the north, where there is a complex signalled junction.
“It’ll be interesting to see how people plan to overcome those issues, but for a developer of the quality and experience we are seeking, I am confident that it won’t prove a major obstacle.”