A further 14.6 acres of land around the AJ Bell Stadium in Salford is to be sold to make way for the development of warehouses and combined office space, totalling 275,000 ft.
The land is currently in the ownership of CosCoS, (The City of Salford Stadium Community Stadium Limited), which is a partnership between Salford City Council and Peel L&P, and terms have been agreed to sell the site to an experienced developer in the logistics sector.
Subject to planning, work on the new units could start by the end of the year and create around 350 new jobs. The planning team will consider issues such as infrastructure, accessibility, public transport and green space as part of the process.
The sale follows land bought by Greene King and Aldi with a number of other potential sales being discussed on the remaining 25 acres of development land.
The news indicates the strong market interest in the location and will, when all sales are completed, deliver investment in excess of £100 million, an estimated 800 jobs and business rates income each year of around £2million.
Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett said:
“It is fantastic that CosCos are selling further land around the AJ Bell Stadium. There is strong interest in the remaining development plots and we are confident that the City Council will fully recover its investment in the project when all are bought.
“What was once derelict land is now a catalyst for jobs, growth and investment in our city.
“The development of the land around the stadium is more critical than ever as we start to plan our recovery from the economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Not all have been so upbeat about the development news as the Mayor, with some local residents taking to social media to claim that the siting of warehouses upon the land signals the end of a now failed dream to turn the area into a thriving retail park with the formerly named Salford City Stadium as the focal point, as just two plots were sold to Aldi for a supermarket and Greene King which built the Barley Farm public house on land close to the stadium.
A covenant that was in place which restricted the use has been pretty much torn up, as despite years of attempting to sell the land, the market for retail units in the area was clearly just not there. The land is located within distance of one of Europe's largest shopping centres (The Trafford Centre) as well as just a short car ride to an already established shopping centre just a motorway junction away.
A number of potential sales have been mooted by local Salford councillors over the years but they ultimately failed to materialise into anything significant.
Meanwhile others commenters on social media said that realistically speaking it is better to find some use for the land which can start to benefit Salford than to leave it vacant for potentially many more years to come.
The plots are now set to be repurposed as industrial and employment space.
James Whittaker, Executive Director for Development at Peel L&P said:
“Receipts from the land sales are being used to repay CosCos loan, including funding supplied by Salford City Council and Peel L&P that was instrumental in the development and operation of the AJ Bell Stadium. The site has significantly benefited from the £46milllion investment into the Western Gateway Infrastructure Scheme that was completed in 2018.
“The site is closely linked to Peel L&P’s adjacent Port Salford initiative which will deliver 320,000 sqm of employment space supporting up to 10,000 jobs. The £60million rail terminal is under development and will lever in £140 million of private sector investment creating at least 2,500 jobs and secure a reduction in CO2 emissions of 14,900 tonnes per annum by taking freight movements off the road.”