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Everything you need to know about the regeneration of Birmingham city centre

Everything you need to know about the regeneration of Birmingham city centre

🕔16.Apr 2014

Three years have passed since a large chunk of Birmingham city centre became an Enterprise Zone, where 26 development sites benefiting from simplified planning regulations and business rates uplift were earmarked for “significant growth opportunities”.

Certainly, if the Enterprise Zone achieves what its backers claim it can achieve it will transform the centre of Birmingham on a scale not seen for a generation.

According to the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, the Enterprise Zone will create 40,000 new jobs over its lifetime, contribute over £2 billion to the economy in GVA per annum and generate in excess of £700m in additional business rates.

Some of the schemes have a very familiar ring to them. Construction of Arena Central and the redevelopment of Paradise Circus, for example, were first proposed by the city council in 2000 but stubbornly failed to get off the ground during a decade of economic turbulence.

There are encouraging signs, however, that things are different this time thanks to a raft of Government funding measures.

In 2012 GBSLEP and the city council approved the Enterprise Zone Investment Plan, setting out £128 million of priority projects for 2013-18.

This includes support for site development and infrastructure, with the plan being financed by prudential borrowing paid for by the uplift in business rates generated within the zone.

Some of the 26 development sites, particularly those in Digbeth, were given a huge boost by the pending arrival of HS2, while city centre extensions to the Midland Metro tram system are expected to make sites in the Snow Hill area more attractive to investors.

Here is a progress report on each of the 26 Enterprise Zone schemes:

Arena Central 

Office-led mixed use scheme incorporating significant new public realm on the site of the former Central Television studios off Broad Street. The long-awaited development will bridge the gap between the existing Central Business District and Brindleyplace.

Planning permission has been obtained for a new Holiday Inn.

Shortlisted for £3.8 million Local Infrastructure Funding which will enable demolition works and public realm to be put in place. A successful bid will enable work on the hotel to start this summer, with completion 2015.

Paradise Circus

A landmark scheme linking up Brindleyplace and extending the Central Business District to create a new urban block at the heart of the city including large-floorplate Grade A office accommodation and opportunities for retail and hotel uses within a high quality environment.

A joint venture scheme, comprising BCC, Argent and the BT pension fund, was approved by the cabinet in October 2013. Subject to approval of the CPO by the Secretary of State, work will start on site in 2014-15.

Snowhill Queensway Phase 2

Nearly 100,000 sq m of predominately Grade A office space, with direct access to the extended Metro link to New Street Station. The scheme is in three phases with phases one and two now complete.

Snowhill Queensway Phase 3

Part of the extended Central Business District, the area offers major opportunities for office-led mixed use schemes with direct access to Snow Hill Station and the extended Metro link to New Street Station. Planning permission obtained.

Former Post & Mail Building

Opportunities for office-led mixed use schemes located closed to Snow Hill Station and the extended Metro link to New Street Station. Planning obtained for offices, hotel, retail and car park. Construction of 20,000 sq m car park underway and is scheduled to open autumn 2014.

Application submitted for second site for 20,000 sq m office scheme.

Southern Gateway

Adjoining the Bullring and city core retail and business area, the area is centred on a new public space – Moat Square.
An opportunity to diversify Birmingham’s leisure, retail and cultural offer, including niche retail, improved markets, family entertainment, residential and space for creative industries following relocation of the Wholesale Markets to the former IMI site in Witton. Masterplanning will take place this year, with site preparation for development start expected 2017.

103 Colmore Row (Former NatWest Tower)

Strategic office development at the heart of the Central Business District with permission for a landmark tall building to provide Grade A office floorspace alongside retail, bars and restaurants. Requires demolition of the existing tower. Planning consent exists for 36,000 sq m office plus retail/restaurant.

Birmingham Children’s Hospital

A medium-term development opportunity for a mix of uses complementing the Central Business District and education campuses. Dependent on relocation of the hospital.


Situated in Digbeth opposite the Bullring, a mixed use scheme comprising a 27 storey tower block alongside refurbished listed buildings offering a range of accommodation for office, retail and leisure uses. Planning permission granted for 60,000 sq m floor space. Enabling works are now on site.


The second phase of a mixed use development connecting Eastside with the city core. Phase 1 has seen the delivery of 340 residential units and is a proposed location for Birmingham’s new £60 million magistrate’s court. Planning permission obtained for 60,000 sq m office space, hotel/apartments and retail. Shortlisted for £8 million Local Infrastructure Funding.

Eastside Locks

An urban business park benefiting from both water and park-side frontages, creating a new quarter with retail, leisure, learning, living and business. City University Phase 2 on site with £100 million investment, expected to complete 2015. Outline planning permission in place for 185 bed hotel, retail leisure and office space, 35,000 sq m residential including student housing.

Typhoo Wharf

Three hectare site in Digbeth next to the canal. Opportunities for commercial floor space in a combination of reused buildings. Covered by a simplified planning scheme – Local Development Order in place will ease investment.

Warwick Bar

Incorporates several listed buildings connected with the canal system. Opportunities for commercial floor space in a combination of reused buildings and in new builds on underutilised vacant land. A number of extensions to existing businesses are planned to start on site summer 2014.

Great Barr Street

The site has planning consent for the refurbishment of buildings to create 15,000 sq m of business space. Opportunities include a data centre facility which would form part of Digbeth’s growing role at the hub of digital industries in Birmingham. Developer in place, outline planning permission has been obtained for refurbishment and new build.

Custard Factory Extension

A proposed extension will utilise the neighbouring site/building to provide opportunities for space for start-ups and SME businesses. Local Development Order in place to ease investment.

Smithfield Court

Planning consent for a 22,300 sq m mixed use development in Digbeth with a focus on office uses. 1,000 sq m of innovative office space is currently available in the newly refurbished Walker Building.

Connaught Square

The two hectare site in Digbeth offers opportunities for residential and business use in close proximity to the national coach station and the Bullring.

Kettleworks/St George’s

A mixed use development of low carbon BREEAM excellent offices alongside two hotels, apartments, car parking, shops and leisure space in the industrial fringe of the Jewellery Quarter with outline planning permission. The council has used £1 million ERDF grant to support the relocation of the Assay Office, which will mark the first stage of the development of the wider St George’s scheme which will be completed next year.

University College Birmingham

The new campus will create a centre for education and the creative industries. The first phase is under construction and is set to complete Spring 2014.

Newhall Square

Development on site of the former science museum will provide 16,827 sq m of leisure, hotel, retail and office space and 234 apartments. Planning permission is in place and the hotel has been built.

Ludgate Hill

Opportunity for an office-led mixed use development on the doorstep of Snow Hill Station and the Central Business District.

Curzon Street

Mixed use development for office, residential, hotel, retail, leisure and medical centre with outline planning permission for total floor space of 130,000 sq m. Outline planning permission in place.

City Park Gate

Mixed use scheme with outline planning permission for six development plots totalling 93,700 sq m of floor space. The 4* Hotel La Tour has already been built.

Birmingham City University Campus

New city centre campus with modern educational and media facility for the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design. First phase of scheme was completed Autumn 2013. Second phase currently on site and is due to complete 2015.

Digital Media Zone

The Plaza at Science Park Aston will provide three buildings in addition to iCentrumTM with a total of 10,000 sq m of space for high-technology business use. iCentrumTM planning application is imminent.

Venture Way

The Venture Way site provides additional business space overlooking the Digbeth Branch Canal which runs through the Science Park.

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