International technology business signs up for Clowes Developments Castlewood

Derbyshire-based industrial developer Clowes Developments has revealed another major deal at Castlewood, the strategic office and industrial site which is expected to become a significant employment centre close to the M1 motorway.

Meridian Lightweight Technologies, a world leader in the supply of advanced, lightweight alloys to the global automotive industry, has signed up to a brand new high quality building which will allow it to continue its expansion programme in the UK. The deal has been announced as work continues to construct a massive retail distribution centre for The Co-operative Group elsewhere on the Castlewood site. The Co-operative Group distribution centre will be home to around 900 staff alone and it is thought the whole site could one day host up to 5,000 jobs.

Meridian Lightweight Technologies is part of a global group based in Canada which is renowned for its expertise in die-casting magnesium, an advanced lightweight alloy which is in demand by an automotive industry looking to improve the performance of its products through the use of high-strength lightweight structures and components.

The company’s UK operations are already based in Nottinghamshire and the move to a new, purpose-built 60,000 sq ft facility at Castlewood will enable it to proceed with planned growth. Geoff Storr, of Meridian Lightweight Technologies, a global supplier of lightweight automotive component commented:

“The new facility allows us to expand the machining of large, lightweight magnesium structural components and support the growing magnesium casting operation, located in nearby Caladine Park.”

Canadian based Meridian expects completion of the new facility in late 2012, with production beginning in 2013.

James Keeton of Jones Lang LaSalle who acted for Meridian Lightweight Technologies added:

“We are very pleased to have secured a new design and build manufacturing facility for Meridian at Castlewood, satisfying both their location and operational requirements and enabling the continued expansion of a high tech manufacturing business within the East Midlands.”

Like the Co-operative Group deal, the Meridian contract has been secured on Clowes Developments’ behalf by the Midlands property consultancy FHP. Director Tim Gilbertson, who is handling marketing of Castlewood, says it represents another landmark deal for the site, which is just off the A38 less than a mile from Junction 28 of the M1 motorway on the Nottinghamshire-Derbyshire border.

He commented:

“This is without doubt another coup for Castlewood and a tribute to Clowes’ insight in purchasing and developing what is going to become one of the key strategic industrial and commercial locations in the East Midlands. The Co-operative Group distribution centre is a giant building, but the Meridian development has its own particular significance.

The wider commercial property market has been subdued for some time because continuing economic challenges have sapped business confidence. But here we have one of the first design-and-build projects for a long period, and the business expansion which lies behind it has to be taken as a really positive sign that there is growth out there.

We have been working with Meridian Lightweight Technologies for some time to help them identify potential locations for their expansion, and one of their key requirements was that they should be able to make a move swiftly. Speed and flexibility is one of the hallmarks of Clowes Developments and their commitment to delivering a finished product within six months of signing contracts played a key part in sealing the deal.”

Castlewood is rapidly becoming established as one of the most sought-after industrial and commercial development sites on the M1 corridor in the Midlands. It is just off the A38 near Junction 28 of the M1, providing rapid access to north-south and east-west markets. Besides the 500,000 sq ft Co-operative Group distribution centre and the Meridian Lightweight technologies building, it is also likely to see a range of industrial and office developments.

James Richards, of Clowes Developments, said:

“Castlewood is now becoming firmly established as the major industrial and commercial location in the East Midlands, with all the major cities within an hour’s drive and a workforce of two million people on your doorstep. We were thrilled when The Co-operative Group decided to consolidate its regional food distribution centres on to the site and the Meridian Lightweight Technologies deal is another significant transaction.

Besides the strength of Castlewood’s location, we are committed to delivering high-quality developments which meet the needs of prestige clients in an uncertain and fast-changing climate. When we say ‘built-to-suit’ that is exactly what we mean – both in terms of the specification of the development and the timetable to which we deliver. This was a key factor for Meridian Lightweight Technologies and I’m pleased to have another prestige occupier moving to the site.”

Heather Dixon, Partner and commercial property solicitor at Derby-based Flint Bishop LLP says:

“This is another in a long line of deals where FHP and Flint Bishop have worked together to deliver a project for Clowes Developments.  This is excellent news for the local economy and further enhances the region as the UK centre for manufacturing and engineering excellence.”

Tim Gilbertson concluded:

“What people can take from these deals is that there is a very good location available with an experienced developer committed to helping businesses meet their specific needs. That kind of commitment makes a difference in a market lacking confidence, and I expect to be announcing further deals at Castlewood shortly.”

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