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Top honour for redevelopment; WEDNESBURY: Industry 'Oscar' for project next to M6.

Byline: By Steve Johnson

ONE of the most ambitious regeneration schemes to be brought forward in the Black Country has won an industry "Oscar".

The pounds 45million, 30-acre industrial development on Junction 6 of the M6 at Wednesbury, known as Opus 9, was named the winner in 'best public/private sector collaboration' category of the RegenWM Prizes 2006.

The 450,000 sq ft scheme, being developed by West Midlands based Opus Land, won through having been nominated by Black Country Investment (BCI).

The scheme was recognised by RegenWM judges as one of the most significant and complex regeneration projects to be created in the Black Country for decades.

Black Country Investment, which helped orchestrate the deal with the landowners and sourced public funding for the scheme, nominated Opus 9 for the award.

Known as the West Midlands centre of excellence for regeneration, RegenWM's Prizes are designed to celebrate good practice and success in regeneration.

Involving nine public and private sector parties, the land assembly process for Opus 9 has taken more than five years to complete and ultimately is expected to create up to 750 jobs.

Located on St Paul's Road, Opus 9 has planning consent for manufacturing, warehousing and distribution facilities.

As well as being well placed to attract blue chip companies and a huge boost to the local economy, Opus 9's neighbour, Wood Green High School College of Sport, is benefiting from the scheme with new state of the art sports facilities.

Opus 9 is being funded by Arlington Property Investors to the tune of pounds 40 million. The remaining investment has been put forward by Advantage West Midlands, in the form of a grant worth pounds 5 million.

Richard Smith, director of Opus Land, said: "We hope that Opus 9 will be an agent of change in this developing area and take a major role in the renaissance of the Black Country and its future prosperity."

Over 200 regeneration officials attended the Molineux, Wolverhampton for the RegenWM Prizes 2006 which attracted over 60 entries.

Speaking at the event, chair of RegenWM Tony Sealey, said: "Regeneration is crucial to the economic success of our region, and Opus 9 is testament to the benefits of partnership and how it can deliver fundamental change and prosperity.

"We can all learn from all our winners and they inspire us to do even better."

CAPTION(S):

REDEVELOPMENT... the Opus Nine site next to the M6 and, inset, an artist's impression of the development.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Feb 23, 2006
Words:411
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