If you think Birmingham has transformed in recent years, you ain’t seen nothing yet!
Since official confirmation that Brum had won the 2022 bid back in 2017, Birmingham has been going through a whirlwind of building activity.
In an interview with BirminghamLive last year, Cllr Ian Ward, head of Birmingham City Council, said the legacy of the Games would be “significant” as these developments are proof of how investors are drawn here by the “transformational impact” of the Games as well as HS2.
Projects that have already been completed or are near completion include the £500 million Paradise scheme, revamp of Birmingham’s largest public space, Centenary Square, and the reopening of historical Brum landmark The Grand Hotel after a £45m restoration.
But what else is coming?
Many projects have either been delayed or halted due to Covid, but after a two-year-long pandemic, it’s time to start looking forward.
Here are 11 things set to take shape within the next 10 years.
The future is very bright, Birmingham!
1) This will officially be known as Paradise City
Billed as “the most significant development Birmingham has seen for a generation” and a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to boost the city’s standing internationally”, the Paradise development is already looking like the glittering jewel in Birmingham’s crown. But there is more to come.
By summer 2022, One Centenary Way will be complete. The project comprises of a 16 storey building providing office and retail accommodation and a gorgeous new public realm walk-through from Chamberlain Square.
From 2023 onwards, expect a new 180,000 sq ft commercial building – Three Chamberlain Square – a new 17-storey hotel on the corner of Paradise Street and a series of new public squares and pedestrian routes.
We will also see the return of the James Watt and Joseph Priestley statues – as part of Phase two of the Paradise project.
Phase 3 will include more commercial use buildings and a 49-storey residential tower called Octagon -claimed to be the world’s tallest pure octagonal residential building.
The entire Paradise development is due for completion in 2028.
2) Three rooftop dining restaurants
The new restaurant in spectacular 26-storey 103 Colmore Row tower will be open by this summer.
Joining the Marco Pierre White steakhouse at The Cube, it will give us two breath-taking ‘dining with a view’ options this year.
However, 103 Colmore Row’s restaurant looks likely to be a decidedly more decadent experience.
The acclaimed D&D London restaurant group will take over the prime rooftop space – as well as a separate cocktail bar and café on the ground floor.
Situated on the 24th floor – with the double-height of two floors – it will give diners panoramic views across the city.
The group’s other high profile landmark venues include 20 Stories in Manchester and London’s Bluebird Chelsea, Quaglinos and King Cross German Gymnasium restaurant.
We are also set to have a third rooftop restaurant at 100 Broad Street – a 61 storey tower that will offer the “UK’s highest altitude dining experience outside London”. The skyscraper will also comprise of 500 high-end luxury apartments.
Scheme designers Glancy Nicholls Architects said: “Standing at 193m tall with a super slim profile, 100 Broad Street will be the pinnacle high rise skyscraper in the emerging Broad Street cluster of tall buildings.
“Located within the building’s glazed crown will be the highest altitude dining experience found in the UK outside of the capital with a sky lounge and fine dining restaurant.”
100 Broad Street has a final completion date of 2024.
3) A sensational skyline
Thanks to the two Chamberlain Squares and 103 Colmore Row joining The Cube, our city skyline has now got a very cool modern look.
Throw in the historically magnificent Town Hall and Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery into the mix and we have an incredible showcase of Brum’s architectural splendour.
100 Broad Street and Octagon -part of the Paradise project – will shake our skyline up even more.
Named Octagon after its shape, the £110million development will be the world’s tallest ‘pure octagonal’ residential skyscraper.
It will dominate the city’s skyline as one of its largest structures.
Site works began in December with spades now in the ground to erect the 49-storey apartments – which, standing at more than 500ft, will be the city’s highest building.
When completed in 2025, the tower will provide a number of homes, together with communal space, concierge and resident amenities.
Rob Groves, regional development director with Paradise development manager MEPC, said: “Octagon is a game-changer for the city’s skyline and to now have spades in the ground brings us closer to realising our vision for a unique, world-class building right in the heart of Birmingham.
“From day one, our ambition with Octagon has been simple – to build one of the finest apartment schemes ever seen in the UK.
“Everything about it – its height, the size of the apartments themselves and their design, the views and the location in the city centre – will be a first and we can’t wait to see the building making progress on Birmingham’s skyline.
“With further landmark buildings to follow at Paradise, along with the new public realm that will knit Paradise and the wider city centre together, we continue to create a new piece of the city for the people of Birmingham.”
4) Birmingham Smithfield
Did you know the area around Bullring markets was first known as Smithfield markets back in 1935?
The landscape of Birmingham will be helped along massively by the Smithfield project – regenerating the south of the city centre. It’s been described as bringing “food, culture and community together”.
In 2021 the council finalised a £1.9 billion scheme which will include 3,000 houses, a new home for the historic Bull Ring Markets, shops, a hotel and a new public square.
The Birmingham Wholesale Markets have already moved to make way. At 42 acres, the site is twice as big as Brindleyplace.
The council’s 2016 Smithfield Masterplan described how the focal point would be Festival Square – ‘to rival the best Europe has to offer’.
The masterplan also outlined that it would also house major concerts. Work is expected to start this year.
Councillor Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “This £1.9bn development means jobs, homes and opportunities and Smithfield Birmingham will become a shining example of inclusive economic growth and will create a real legacy in the heart of Birmingham.”
5) Eastside emerges out of the city centre’s shadow
After years of neglect, the Eastside area of Birmingham is finally coming into its own.
The redevelopment of Digbeth is set to become one of the largest projects ever undertaken in the city, with new homes, shops, restaurants, cafés and leisure facilities all to be built in the area. Apartments, nightclubs, student accommodation and even a ‘sky park’ have been included in the approved plans.
This also includes a huge 479-apartment building.
CGI images of the development show a huge 6-10 storey building on land bounded by Bradford Street, Birchall Street, Cheapside & the River Rea, with those buildings currently occupying the site due to be demolished to make way.
Work will begin on the transformation of Digbeth this year.
All the developments are slated to finish by 2035 but as the work will be done in stages, we should expect a significant amount of it to be completed in time for new year 2032.
6) Sky Park – Brum’s New York-style High Line
Duddeston Viaduct, the long-disused Victorian viaduct in the city centre, will be given a brand-new lease of life as Birmingham’s new ‘Sky Park’.
Planners say that the transformation of the viaduct has been one of the driving factors of the development, with proposals similar to those carried out on New York’s High Line, a little-known, long-abandoned elevated railroad that has been transformed into a public park and playground. Planning documents state: “The reinvention of the Viaduct as a park for public access has been a driving factor from the first inception of the current proposals.”
7) Catching a tram to Digbeth and train to Moseley
There is so much in Digbeth to already enjoy – such as amazing bars, restaurants and of course the incredible street art, which makes it pretty much an open-air gallery.
So, it’s truly thrilling that by 2026 it will finally feel more part of our city centre -as it will be reachable on tram.
After the Commonwealth Games have concluded, Midland Metro Alliance, who are planning, designing and building the route on behalf of Transport for West Midlands, will continue construction in the areas between Digbeth and the city centre.
The under-construction £227 million Eastside West Midlands Metro tram extension will run all the way to the Old Crown area of High Street Deritend.
A spokesman from Midland Metro Alliance told us:” This Birmingham Eastside Metro extension will provide new and improved public transport links to the east of the and its creative quarter. It will also connect the Curzon Street HS2 station to the Metro network, maximising interchange opportunities with various modes of public transport.”
And after 2021 delays, we can look forward to The Birmingham Westside Metro extension to Hagley Road via Brindleyplace and Five Ways in 2022.
So we can also discover more of our city centre and surrounding areas by tram.
Local train links are getting better too.
Over the next couple of years, we can look forward to the three new train stations in Birmingham – Moseley, Kings Heath, and Hazelwell. The move will mean the reopening of Birmingham’s Camp Hill railway line, which has been closed since the Second World War – in a bid to “reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality”.
Services to Moseley, Kings Heath and Hazelwell Stations are due to begin in 2023.
8) Welcome to Brummiewood
Birmingham is already a pretty hot film location.
Tom Cruise was recently in town shooting Mission Impossible 7 in Grand Central while staying at newly reopened The Grand Hotel on Colmore Row, and action-packed scenes from the upcoming US Amazon series Citadel were filmed next to Chamberlain Square. So it makes sense to have a dedicated a film and television studio here.
That’s why Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is hoping to transform land in and around Digbeth into his huge Mercian Studios development.
Speaking just before the pandemic hit, Mr Knight told BirminghamLive : “I heard about the Digbeth site in 2018, and we’ve made good progress with plans.” Once the high-speed railway is complete, the site will be only 49 minutes from Euston.”
The project has been halted due to Covid, but we should have an update in 2022.
Knight’s plan is to create a Brummie equivalent to London’s Soho, complete with shooting facilities, education initiatives, street theatre and new housing.
The proposed 38-acre studio complex comes amid the BBC committing major investment to that part of Birmingham – with prime-time television set to be made there.
We can also look forward to a 50,000 sqft. campus facility for independent TV production in Digbeth too.
Based at The Bond – it will form ‘ Birmingham’s Creative Content Hub’.
The £18m facility based at The Bond has had an investment of £3m approved from Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP).
Anita Bhalla, GBSLEP Board Director for Creative and Culture, said: “The Creative Content Hub will be an exciting addition to the media landscape and at the heart of innovative production in the region. It’s also an exciting step towards creating a TV, film and multimedia cluster in the heart of Birmingham’s Creative Quarter, in Digbeth.”
9) A pedestrian-friendly Snow Hill and Colmore Row area
A multimillion-pound revamp of Snow Hill and Colmore Row is happening. The ‘public realm’ redevelopment will restrict traffic flow at the heart of Birmingham’s business district, making it more pedestrian-friendly.
The design project is being delivered by a team of consultants led by international architects and urbanists, Broadway Malyan. Danny Crump, director of Urbanism at architects Broadway Malyan, said in summer 2020: “This is a really exciting programme. There has been a recent appetite – given the current Covid 19 situation – to provide spaces where people can safely walk, exercise and go about their daily business.
“Our healthy streets approach aligned with community-led placemaking will breathe much-needed new life to the area by a high-quality public realm and a new cultural offering. ”
The Snow Hill development should be finished by the summer.
BirminghamLive understands Waterloo Street and Colmore Row will be upgraded after the Commonwealth Games with New Street, Lower New Street and High Street all set to benefit too in the years ahead.
10) High Speed to London
The Birmingham to London route of HS2 is now expected to be opened between 2029 and 2033. Work has already begun on the project’s first phase, which will link London with the West Midlands – seeing journey times from Birmingham to London reduced from one hour 21 minutes to just 52 minutes.
The HS2 high-speed line will also be extended to the East Midlands and Manchester. There will be direct services between central Birmingham and the city centres of Nottingham and Derby.
Improved and faster transport links means more business investment which will establish the city as the true beating heart of the country.
11) Super sport facilities to make us the home of UK athletics
After the 2022 games have finished, the Sandwell Aquatics centre will become a general public sports centre.
This will involve “taking away the spectator seats and adding in a sports hall, gyms, activity studios, sauna, steam room, changing facilities, a football pitch, and extra landscaping.”
It will be available for use by Brummies from spring 2023.
Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium’s size, which hosts the flagship opening and closing ceremonies of the 2022 Commonwealth Games – will see permanent capacity will increase to 18,000, with temporary seating taking it up to a limit of 40,000 spectators.
New 400m relay and warm-up tracks will be built, along with extra parking and bus provision – giving first-class facilities for everyone to enjoy.
Birmingham City Council’s has also approved a £1.2m project to replace the 200-metre track at Arena Birmingham to make the course “world-class again”.
This positions us firmly as the home of UK athletics.
That’s not all.
A 10-year partnership has been agreed between UK Athletics and Birmingham City Council.