Birmingham used to be the butt of many jokes and seemed to be a city with a bit of an identity crisis. True, there were some pretty bad planning and architectural decisions which took place in the 1970s which tarnished the city’s reputation but Birmingham has put all that behind them, learned from its mistakes, and has come out on the other side as an ambitious city that can hold its own with any other major city in the world.
First there was the transformation of the Bull Ring which has transformed shopping in the city with new iconic buildings and the recent redevelopment of New Street Station into Grand Central and has now given the city a train station that it can be truly proud of.
Millions of pounds of investment have been pumped into the city, including a huge chunk from Chinese investors, and this money is being used to transform the visual identity of the city. Let’s take a quick look at the three major investments that are putting Birmingham in the world spotlight:
Smithfield – This is the area around the Bullring markets which is in the process of being completely regenerated. The focal point of the regeneration will be Festival Square which will look out to markets, hotel and leisure developments, a concert venue, ice rink, a museum and other family and cultural attractions.
Eastside Locks – This £450 million canal side regeneration has been described as the most exciting and important city centre regeneration scheme in Europe. Included in the redevelopment there will a 175 room hotel, numerous shops, bars and restaurants and the much-anticipated re-opening of the old Typhoo building.
Paradise – The major redevelopment of Paradise Circus and the removal of the old library is probably the flag ship regeneration project for the city. Around £500 million has been invested in this project which will transform Paradise Place and the surrounding area into a space that will include a new walk way, and a variety of bars, restaurants, offices and shops. Aesthetically, it will open up the space around Birmingham’s most beautiful buildings such as the Town Hall, Council House, Chamberlain Memorial and the Museum and Art Gallery and showcase these celebrated landmarks to much greater effect. The project is due to be completed in 2026.
These are exciting times for Birmingham and by 2026, the city will be barely recognizable from the 1970s barnacle it used to be. Investors take note…this is where it’s happening!