A former Black Country copper works has been acquired by regional development agency Advantage West Midlands to be transformed into a multi-million pound high quality business park.
The site forms a key part of the area designated the Darlaston Strategic Development Area (SDA), with the potential to create up to 4,500 jobs over the next decade.
The prime position 28-acre site either side of the M6 at the former IMI James Bridge copper works in Darlaston Road, Walsall, has a legacy of extensive mine workings - there are more than 250 recorded disused mine shafts - and copper refining.
AWM acquired the land from IMI and will use its expertise to co-ordinate a two-year programme of site remediation, which will start later this year.
Infrastructure and development work of Darlaston SDA will see the creation of serviced sites with improved transport links and up to 875,000 sq ft high quality floor space that will support a variety of investment opportunities, from logistics and distribution hubs to workspace and industrial units suitable for smaller start-up and growing businesses.
Stuart Kirkwood, director of development at AWM, said: "The agency has a key priority to create a world-class infrastructure for economic growth - and Darlaston SDA is undoubtedly one of the region’s prime regeneration opportunities.
"Its central location and positioning either side of the M6 places it at the heart of the national motorway network - an ideal investment opportunity for major national and international companies looking to establish a regional base.
"There is the potential to create between 2,500 and 4,500 jobs in two phases of work at Darlaston SDA - local jobs for local people that will be vital to future success and prosperity of Walsall as a thriving and vibrant market town of the Black Country and wider West Midlands region.
"It has taken a huge amount of planning, preparation and negotiation to arrive at this milestone but we are confident of driving the project forward working with our partners at Walsall Regeneration Company, the Environment Agency and Walsall Council."
Restoring this area of Darlaston to bring jobs, prosperity and renewed confidence to Walsall was the reason Ben Reid helped form the Walsall Regeneration Company (WRC) and has become a driving force for the town’s renaissance.
The WRC chairman said: "I always thought this was the last big opportunity to change the employment profile of the area, to bring in new industries and show our young people that they could realise their career ambitions here.
"Everyone talks about industry in decline but here is a chance to revitalise a prime strategic site at the heart of the country, seen by thousands of motorists each day from the M6, as a beacon for the Black Country.
"It has taken a long time and a real team effort to reach this milestone. There are few sites as well located as this in the whole country.
"This project is fundamental to everything we are doing to regenerate Walsall and complements the transformational schemes planned and under way in the town centre. Some people said restoring the Darlaston site could not be done. We were set up to do things that were impossible so this is a real achievement."
Coun Adrian Andrew, Walsall Council cabinet member for regeneration, also said: "It's important we have vision and ambition to create the thousands of jobs that Walsall deserves and not be stuck in the past."