The company behind the award-winning Fort Dunlop development in Birmingham has admitted it is considering selling the building.
Nathan Cornish, managing director of Urban Splash in the Midlands, said the company was considering all options having now almost completely let the historic building, following a multi-million pound redevelopment.
He said: “Fort Dunlop has been a real success for Urban Splash and is now 98 per cent let with high calibre of tenants, many of whom are on long term institutional leases.
“We are now considering our options for the future of the building including the possibility of a sale. There are real growth prospects but we feel that to some extent our job as developer is done and we’d like to concentrate on the other development opportunities we have secured with partners in the region.”
Mr Cornish’s comments come on the back of a difficult month for the developer having laid off an undiclosed number of its 280-strong workforce. A spokeswoman for the company said the job cuts, thought to have included a number of marketing roles, were a reaction to difficult trading conditions in the property sector.
She said: “In spite of a buoyant year-end, sales in the first and second quarter continue to disappoint. The company’s substantial mixed commercial and residential investment portfolio remains resilient.
“The changes are especially regrettable given the loyal, hardworking ‘family’ of long serving staff. The company has held off job cuts as long as possible however it is not alone in facing challenges as a result of wider economic circumstance.”
Urban Splash was launched in 1993 and made its reputation transforming industrial buildings in the North-west but has since established a national profile with schemes such as Tribeca in Liverpool and Mills Bakery in Plymouth as well as with Fort Dunlop and The Rotunda in Birmingham.
The award-winning Fort Dunlop redevelopment has been hailed as a particular success having transformed the 100-year-old former Dunlop works into a key Midland business destination with occupiers including BPM Media (Midlands) Ltd - the owners of the Birmingham Post and Mail - Capita, Dains and Golley Slaters to name but a few.
Edwin Bray, from property consultancy Drivers Jonas in Birmingham, said that despite the current difficulties in the market, he was not surprised that Urban Splash was considering selling up.
He said: “If you go back a few years when Urban Splash first unveiled their proposals for Fort Dunlop people felt that the project would not work in that location but they have proved everybody wrong. The development has been a fantastic success and is now almost completely let so it is no real surprise to hear that they may be looking for a buyer.
"It should be remembered that Urban Splash is a developer and in many ways their job is done and it is now time to move on to the next project.”