Birmingham City Council has agreed an extension to the existing Exclusivity Agreement with proposed development partner Argent, for the future of Paradise Circus.
Cabinet Members also reviewed the proposed business plan that sets out how the planned redevelopment of the eight acre site, which forms a key part of the Big City Plan and Enterprise Zone, will be developed.
The site has the potential to make a major contribution to the Council’s vision for the city through the creation of the opportunity for significant employment growth and generation of additional business rates, together with significant enhancements to the setting for some of the city’s finest heritage buildings and major improvements to pedestrian routes to the West and North areas of the city.
Birmingham City Council and developer Argent signed an Exclusivity Agreement in February 2009 and between them, own or lease the majority of the land within Paradise Circus. Argent has committed significant funds over the last three years to exploring the development opportunities and is working towards entering into a landowning Joint Venture Agreement with the City Council.
The Paradise Circus site lies between Centenary and Chamberlain Squares, and includes existing buildings such as the Copthorne Hotel, Conservatoire, Central Library and Paradise Forum.
Mike Whitby, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “With its central location and immediate proximity to Birmingham’s key business, entertainment and civic districts the redevelopment of Paradise Circus will play a crucial role in stimulating the future growth of our economy and jobs market.
“Paradise Circus holds a central position in our new Enterprise Zone, and our Big City Plan, and it is expected to be the catalyst which will underpin the creation of up to 10,000 new jobs in the city and the region. It holds the potential to be one of the most exciting development sites in the country, and I am delighted to see it moving a major step closer to delivery.”
Rob Groves, Argent Project Director said: “We firmly believe that Paradise Circus is one of the most strategically important development sites within the UK. The Council has set out within its business plan that there is potential for the City’s property assets to be used strategically to stimulate regeneration and the economy. We believe that the redevelopment of Paradise Circus is vital to Birmingham’s economic performance over the coming years.
“Only by actively working together with the Council, do we believe it will be possible to unlock the development opportunity at Paradise Circus and in turn, realise its full potential in helping Birmingham achieve its future success as a global city. The timing is right, with occupational leases coming to an end and key occupiers, Birmingham City University and Copthorne Hotel, keen to explore options for relocating.” It is anticipated that the scheme could comprise up to 1,500,000 sq ft of commercial space spread across 12 new buildings with leisure and retail at ground floor and a replacement of the Copthorne Hotel, all set in a series of new streets and squares.
Glenn Howells of Glenn Howells Architects who is leading the masterplanning process for Paradise Circus said:
‘’Paradise provides a huge opportunity to repair the urban fabric of the city centre as it is an area that is currently widely seen as dysfunctional. The proposals for redevelopment could significantly improve the pedestrian experience and provide a fantastic new setting for Birmingham’s collection of heritage buildings in both Chamberlain and Centenary Squares.”
Gary Taylor under his new venture Altitude Real Estate is working in partnership with Argent to take the project forward. The focus to date has been on the creation of a masterplan vision for Paradise Circus with the team of Glenn Howells Architects, transport planners Peter Brett Associates, consulting engineers Arup and Townshend Landscape Architects, working with planning consultants Drivers Jonas Deloitte.
The development team will now be working towards lodging an outline planning application in Summer 2012.
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