Land Securities is expected to build 550,000 sq ft of commercial, retail and leisure space in the first phase of a major new development at Cuerden, South Ribble after being selected by Lancashire County Council as preferred developer.
The 160-acre development area at the intersection of the M6 and M65 was one of the regional strategic investment sites promoted by the North West Development Agency before its ownership passed to the Homes & Communities Agency following the abolition of the agency. Lancashire County Council acquired the site in 2011.
The agreement will see Lancashire County Council develop a masterplan for a new mixed commercial development.
The appointment of Land Securities marks the developer's return to large scale development in the North West since before the recession. Proposals for a £100m revamp of St John's shopping centre in Liverpool and a partnership agreement to deliver the Northgate retail district in Chester with ING Real Estate were both dropped during the crisis of the past five years.
Land Securities will develop the first phase of the Cuerden plan, delivering infrastructure, employment, retail and leisure space to attract new businesses to the area.
Cllr David Borrow, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council, said: "Cities and regions have to compete for commercial investment, so for us to attract Britain's premier developer is a significant endorsement for the Cuerden Strategic Regional Investment Site. By attracting a major delivery partner quickly, we are sending out a clear signal that Lancashire County Council is a good partner for business and that we value the jobs and investment that the private sector brings."
Rob Noel, chief executive of Land Securities, said: "Land Securities thought long and hard about this project before committing. The combination of the Cuerden location and catchment area together with the leadership of Lancashire County Council convinced Land Securities that this was an exciting development."