GMI Construction Group has marked a significant milestone in the development of the £32.9m Urban 8 Logistics Park at King’s Norton, Birmingham, with a steel signing ceremony.

Progress on the 400,000 sq. ft warehousing and logistics hub, a speculative development by Canmoor Asset Management and Tristan Capital Partners, in partnership with regeneration specialists St Francis Group, remains on schedule and is more than a third of the way towards practical completion.

Steel frameworks of five of the eight units have been erected and work to fit the composite metal cladding is underway.

The steel signing ceremony was carried out by Gareth Jones, GMI’s Divisional Managing Director Midlands; Eugene Carnell, GMI’s Senior Project Manager; Simon Dale, Director of Operations at St Francis Group, and Tom Maltby of Canmoor – symbolising their commitment and collective contribution to the project’s success.

Situated on the former Pilkington Automotive and GKN Aerospace sites, the BREEAM Excellent rated units range from 25,000 sq. ft to 70,000 sq. ft. It is estimated the development could bring up to 900 jobs to the area.

Despite a number of challenges involving the constraints of the site, together with a prolonged period of extremely wet weather, GMI as the principal contractor has worked tirelessly to mitigate impact and is looking towards now starting and progressing finishing activities to the first two units.

Located off Eckersall Road, the 29-acre brownfield site is adjacent to the A441 and A38, offering fast connections throughout the region.

Simon Dale, Director of Operations at St Francis Group, said: “This project not only represents a significant investment in the infrastructure and logistical capabilities of the Midlands but is a benchmark for future developments within the sector.

“It’s a development that’s close to our heart, being in our home city of Birmingham, and since GMI has been on site, its team has done a fantastic job in difficult conditions. It’s a testament to their commitment that the programme remains on schedule.”

Gareth Jones, GMI’s Divisional Managing Director, Midlands, added: “This is a scheme that we particularly wanted to be part of to demonstrate our extensive capabilities. It will create local skills and employment within the city of Birmingham and the wider region.

“This steel signing ceremony marks a significant milestone in the project and symbolises the strong collaboration and collective dedication of the key stakeholders and supply chain to deliver this state-of-the-art logistics park.”

Tom Maltby, a Director of Canmoor Asset Management added: “The industrial market, certainly in the Midlands, is thriving from an occupier perspective, and from an Urban 8 perspective, we are very confident in this development.

“The steel is up, and the roof is on Unit 8, and we will be offering occupancy from November 2024 which is really exciting. This is the largest speculative mid box scheme in the region targeting occupation from Q4 this year.”

In 2019, GKN Aerospace announced the phased closure of its factory, which produced high-performance windscreens and windows for civilian and military aircraft, with work transferring to other sites. Meanwhile Pilkington Automotive consolidated its operations into a larger warehouse in nearby Redditch.