Plans to build major logistics park on old AstraZeneca site will result in huge job creation

Tuesday April 13, 2021

The Epta Development Corporation (EDC) has announced plans to demolish Avlon Works, the former Avonmouth AstraZeneca pharmaceutical plant that it purchased in December. It will then build a new logistics park with the intention of creating jobs, encouraging economic development and generally regenerating the area.

Avlon Works

Avlon Works is situated in part of the sprawling Avonmouth industrial area, on Severn Road in South Gloucestershire. Having originally opened in 1969, the plant used to belong to AstraZeneca until it was sold in 2016, continuing operations until 2019. The business that purchased it in 2016 was Avara, another pharmaceutical company. 

Spanning 100 acres, both the buildings and land of Avlon Works were put up for sale when Avara went into administration. Due to the nature of the deal between Avara and AstraZeneca (which included the site being sold for £1), AstraZeneca had to offer redundancy pay to its former workers as Avara entered administration within three years, although pressure from local MPs and the Unite union was needed to ensure this agreement was upheld.

The site currently consists of a mixture of offices, laboratories, workshops and warehouses. South Gloucestershire Council has declared it a “safeguarded area for economic development”, which means redevelopment plans that contribute to job creation and regeneration will receive local government support.

EDC’s plans

Since purchasing the Avlon Works site in December, EDC, a Canadia company, has begun selling off its assets through Maynards, a specialist in auctions and liquidations. Avara staff have remained in place to assist with the sales process by providing data, answering technical queries and aiding with the transportation and removal of equipment. The equipment has all been cleaned and decontaminated.

Maynards has put together a 144 page document listing Avlon Works’ assets, which in turn is likely to become a sales catalogue for all parts of the site that are above ground. It is expected the catalogue will include more than 5000 available lots, with the inventory of spares alone being worth £2.5 million.

These assets include facilities and equipment such as:

  • A biological wastewater treatment facility
  • A combined heat and power plant
  • A cGMP kilo scale facility with 20-100L reactors
  • Extensive warehousing including cold storage units
  • Four quality laboratories
  • Two environmental laboratories
  • Six chemistry laboratories
  • One analytical laboratory
  • Five large-scale cGMP API plants, with 6-10m3 reactors and a pressure filter, as well as conical and centrifuge drying
  • An IMS solvent recovery unit (Koch Modular Process)
  • Various offices, workshops, site services, facilities and internal transport throughout
  • Two large-scale milling facilities with Hosakawa mills

Daniel Grey, the manufacturing director at Maynards, said “The Avonmouth site has long been a major national distribution hub for its products, and so is perfectly situated for effective asset disposal, with additional nearby port connections.” 

Once these assets have been sold, EDC will begin its redevelopment of the site. The aim is to build a park of 1.85 million square feet, with a focus on warehouse and logistics space. This should prove a valuable source of job creation, particularly important amidst the economic challenges of Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic.

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