GBSLEP Blog: Chris Webster (July 2013)
GBSLEP Board Director with Responsibility for Maximising Public Assets and the Enterprise Zone, Chris Webster, reflects on progress being made with the Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone.
Earlier this month it was announced that a joint venture partnership had been secured in order to create a 500,000 sq ft office development on the site of Ludgate Hill car park which will be called Great Charles Square.
This is just the latest in a series of announcements that have really demonstrated just how the Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone has taken off.
In many ways, the progress we have made with the Zone has exceeded our expectations.
It was only in March this year when the prospectus outlining the development opportunities on the 26 sites was unveiled.
The Zone is one of the key initiatives for the GBSLEP, having the potential to create 40,000 new jobs and add £2 billion a year to the economy of Greater Birmingham.
Right across the Zone we can see progress.
A detailed planning application for the Paradise Circus redevelopment is currently being drawn up with a view to being submitted early next year now that the necessary infrastructure investment from Birmingham City Council and the GBSLEP has been approved.
Just a stone’s throw away from Paradise Circus work is already underway on the Arena Central site, preparing the way for a 250-bedroom Holiday Inn Express hotel.
Two Snow Hill and the Beorma Quarter are complete and well advanced respectively while across the other side of the city, at Millennium Point, the final stages of the Birmingham City University’s £61 million Institute of Art and Design is now underway.
Accelerating the development of other key sites has also moved forward with successful bids to Government for support from the Local Pinch Point Fund to improve road access around various sites and also to support three projects from the Local Infrastructure Fund.
Already we are on course to create 2,500 new jobs by 2015 with many more forecast as some of the current developments come on stream and can demonstrate, with some satisfaction, that the Enterprise Zone concept is making a difference in Birmingham City Centre.