Monday, July 15, 2024
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Iconic bike factory for sale

Terraces of mainly Victorian industrial buildings, which formed the Sunbeam motorcycle factory from 1912 to 1937, are up for grabs by fashionable apartment developers. Using the postal address of “Sunbeamland” in their heyday, these hallowed structures comprising 150,000 sq ft occupy the perimeter of a 2.1-acre triangular site bounded by Wolverhampton’s Paul Street, Pool Street and Jeddo Street.

Four Senior TT-winning machines were manufactured and tuned on the premises. Tommy de la Hay took the first of Sunbeam’s TT victories in 1920, followed by the great Irish-Canadian star Alec Bennett in 1922 at an average speed of 58.31mph. Then Charlie Dodson scored a double, winning both the 1928 and 1929 Senior races at respective average velocities of 62.98mph and a tarmac-rippling 72.05mph. Murray Walker’s father Graham was also a regular competitor for the marque in the 1920s and early 30s. Legendary Yorkshireman Tom Bullus, whose name went on to be synonymous with German-made but British-designed NSU racers — the Bullus singles — also cut his TT teeth on a Sunbeam.

Sunbeam ceased making motorcycles in Wolverhampton after the marque was sold to AMC in 1937 and production transferred elsewhere. More recently, the disused factory was acquired by QED Developments, which obtained full planning consent for conversion to 116 residential units in 2013.

QED went bust last year and its joint administrators Simon Campbell and Carl Jackson of insolvency practitioner Quantuma have now appointed property specialist Colliers International to dispose of the site.

Colliers director Nick Hammond commented: “Sunbeam’s legacy in Wolverhampton and the West Midlands offers potential buyers an exciting, unique opportunity to acquire a site of real historic significance. Moreover, the excellent gateway presence means that, once fully developed and restored to its former glory, Sunbeam has the capacity to become a large urban residential regeneration scheme with huge potential for high return on investment.”

In a statement, Quantuma added: “With a leading university on the development’s doorstep, and inward investment pouring into Wolverhampton, now is an exciting time for a rare asset such as this to be coming to market. Sunbeam offers extensive asset management and value-add opportunities for funds, JV partnerships and developers alike.”    

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