GE Lighting site to be transformed
The former GE Lighting complex in Rushey Mead, Leicester, has been sitting empty for three years after its American owners decided to close down the light bulb manufacturing plant with the loss of nearly 400 jobs.
The company has since been trying to sell off the 19-acre site, on Melton Road, and has now concluded a deal with Solihull based First Industrial.
Its Development Director, Fergie Taylor, said it had not yet been decided what sort of development will replace the dilapidated former GE buildings. He said: "We haven't actively started marketing the site yet. The number of jobs that could be created will depend on the final use decided and the occupier. Heavy industry is quite labour-intensive. Light industrial and distribution are similar. It could be 500 to 1,000 jobs. It is bound to provide employment and the eventual occupier will be looking for a local labour force."
First Industrial was unable to say how much the site had been purchased for because the information was commercially sensitive, but it had previously been marketed for £10 million. The firm specialises in building large-scale industrial developments, such as distribution centres, and has worked with companies including Bosch Siemens, DHL, Marks and Spencer and Debenhams.
Some parts of the vacant site have been contaminated by industrial chemicals used in bulb manufacturing but officials from Leicester City Council say it is suitable for non-residential uses.
Mr Taylor said the site would be decontaminated where necessary to allow a new development. He added: "We are in the process of discussing a planning application with the local authority."
"Like any brownfield site there will be issues of clearance and remediation and we will deal with them as part of the planning process. The buildings on site are not much good to anyone so they will be removed and we will clean up the site where we need to.''
Councillor Abdul Osman, the City Council's cabinet regeneration and transport spokesman, said: "The Council welcomes purchase of the site from GE Lighting for redevelopment and the creation of new employment opportunities."
Oliver Bertram, development director at First Industrial concludes: "The historic shortage of quality development land in Leicester, coupled with strong local and regional demand, underpins our confidence in the site."
Leicester Mercury 18th January 2011
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