The MIPM property show in France has revealed a number of exciting commercial developments both in mainland Europe and the UK, yet this week the bar has been raised yet again – this time by the country’s emerging development hotspot, Birmingham. Candidates representing the city have unveiled huge plans for the Wholesale Markets area, which they plan to rebrand as “Birmingham Smithfield” as a means of attracting upwards of £500 million of investment to the city.
Over a ten year period, the 14 hectare site will be transformed into a bustling urban capital, providing more than 100,000 square metres of commercial floor space and 1,000 new homes. This, they hope, will allow for the creation of 3,000 new jobs, many of which will be centred around new retail markets and a new family leisure quarter incorporating restaurant space and tourist attractions.
Leader of Birmingham City Council, Sir Albert Bore (pictured), believes that the scheme presents a unique opportunity to solidify the city’s status as an international business and tourism destination.
He says; “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.”
Although plans are as yet at a very early stage, it is believed that the focal point of the site would be a new public space known as Market Square, around which the leisure quarter and market spaces would be based. Furthermore, there are indications that public transport needs would be met by an extension of the city’s Midland Metro tram system, allowing the area close access to the nearby HS2 terminus at Curzon.
The announcement marks the launch of an extensive public consultation programme regarding the project, in which local residents and business leaders will be invited to offer their opinions in matters including investment, key concerns and desired elements of the site. Presumably, this will also include a liaison with market traders operating on the site at present – the works would necessitate their relocation, although the site upon which they will potentially be based in future has not as yet been disclosed.
Chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Andy Street, has also revealed that the site would be included in the City Centre Enterprise Zone, thereby offering incentives for businesses seeking to locate to Birmingham.
He says; “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.”
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