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Birmingham markets area renamed ‘Smithfield’ to woo MIPIM investors

Birmingham markets area renamed ‘Smithfield’ to woo MIPIM investors

🕔11.Mar 2015

A prime Birmingham development site which includes the wholesale and retail markets has been renamed ‘Smithfield’ by the city council in an attempt to woo investors at the MIPIM property fair.

The 14 hectare parcel of land behind the Bullring shopping centre will deliver over 100,000 sq. metres of floorspace, 1,000 new homes and 3,000 new jobs, adding £470 million GVA to the local economy and attract millions more visitors to the region, according to the council.

The value of the proposed development is put at £500 million and is aimed at

delivering a unique destination for the city, which builds on the area’s rich heritage and focus for retail markets

Based in the city centre, Birmingham Smithfield will be able to capitalise on its location next to the prime shopping area – which attracts over 40 million visitors a year, spending £2 billion on the local economy – and New Street Station, which is used by more than 51 million people a year.

The development will be set within a vibrant new area, featuring high quality pedestrian and cycle routes, and a series of new public spaces. This includes Market Square, the focal point for the site, around which the markets and family leisure quarter will be located.

The Midland Metro tram system will be integrated into the site and bring Birmingham Smithfield within minutes of the proposed high speed rail (HS2) terminus at Curzon nearby. Further enhancements to public transport facilities for the site will also be delivered.

City council leader Sir Albert Bore said:

Birmingham has an impressive track record of investing in its future. The £600 million redevelopment of New Street rail station will complete this year, while the transformation of its retail scene – which includes the Mailbox, Grand Central, Selfridges and John Lewis – will drastically improve what the city has to offer.

Birmingham Smithfield presents a once in a generation opportunity to build upon our recent successes and deliver a truly unique asset for the city. Our plans for Birmingham Smithfield will create a vibrant new destination – adding to the city’s reputation as a top visitor destination and a great place to live and do business.

According to the council, the area’s vibrant heritage, dating back to 1166 with its focus on markets, will be central to its future transformation, with the name Birmingham Smithfield reflecting its unique history.

While the area’s wholesale markets will move, its retail markets will be improved to encourage more niche and specialist traders to locate alongside the famous brands on offer at the nearby Bullring retail centre.

Designed as a family quarter, Birmingham Smithfield is designed to further establish the city’s reputation as an increasingly popular visitor destination. Birmingham – named by Rough Guides as one of the top ten global locations to visit this year – attracted a record 34 million visitors from outside the region in 2013, while work to target tourists in markets such as China and India has increased the number of international trips to the city by 32 per cent.

Andy Street, Chair of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP, commented:

Birmingham Smithfield provides a new and exciting opportunity to secure investment for the city’s gathering renaissance – which will create new jobs and long-term economic growth. The site’s status as part of the City Centre Enterprise Zone will bring added impetus. The LEP is absolutely behind realising huge opportunities such as Birmingham Smithfield, and over £40 million of Enterprise Zone funding has already been committed to supporting the delivery of these plans.

The plan for Birmingham Smithfield is being unveiled at international real estate show MIPIM, where major cities across the world showcase their development opportunities to international investors.

Waheed Nazir, director of planning and regeneration at the city council, added:

The opportunity to create such a unique and vibrant development is very rare. Birmingham Smithfield will have a transformational impact that capitalises on the area’s unique heritage and focus for markets.

It will radically enhance the city’s retail, visitor and residential offer, as well as unlocking the growth potential of a much wider area. By showcasing the scheme at MIPIM, we are directly targeting potential investors and developers to secure interest from across the globe.

A launch in Birmingham on 19th March will see the commencement of an eight-week period of public consultation. Birmingham City Council will be holding a series of exhibitions and events for the people of Birmingham to visit and contribute their ideas. The Birmingham Smithfield visioning document can be found here.

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