Award winning architect announced for city’s flagship development

City of Wolverhampton Council is hoping to lure investors at the annual MIPIM property exhibition in Cannes to check out some of the opportunities that exist in the Black Country.

One of the major weapons in its arsenal is the new i9 office development, which forms a crucial part of the city’s regeneration.

To help with the strategy, the council has unveiled a new set of images of the development, which will be designed by Glenn Howells Architects.

The Birmingham architects’ appointment was announced by Wolverhampton’s Strategic Director for Place, Tim Johnson, in Cannes.

The i9 development will be built on Railway Drive and follows the successful completion of the i10 building, situated opposite.
It is hoped i9, which will provide 50,000 sq ft of Grade A office space, will be completed by the end of 2018 and will become a national or regional headquarters for a major business.
Glenn Howells Architects’ design was selected by the council and development partner, ION Development (formerly Neptune Developments), from a strong field of 10 of the UK’s leading architects and urban design practices.The Glenn Howells Architects-designed i9
The practice is well-known in the Midlands and is also responsible for the Paradise Birmingham scheme – one of the biggest city centre development projects in the UK.
To meet the criteria, the i9 design also had to be sensitive to neighbouring Victorian landmarks such as the Chubb Buildings and the Prince Albert pub.
Cllr John Reynolds, Wolverhampton’s cabinet member for City Economy, said: “Glenn Howells Architects have produced outstanding designs, that combined with blueprints for the other parcels of land, will help us quickly progress developments with our Interchange partners over the coming years.
“Since i10 was completed we have seen increasing demand for quality office space in that location of the city, particularly from large space users.
“i9 was always envisaged to satisfy that demand, and we are confident these designs will deliver a landmark office building of the utmost quality that is entirely appropriate to its important historic setting.”
He said the council wanted the building to become the design and quality benchmark for future developments in the city, as well as demonstrate the city’s future ambitions.
Glenn Howells Architects’ director, Dav Bansal, said: “As part of the city’s ambition to create a world-class arrival and new business address, we are delighted to be designing the next generation of office space for i9.”
The proposal also includes a vision for the former Steam Mill site, and a refreshed masterplan for the remaining parcels of land within the city’s £132m transport hub and commercial gateway.
Other land earmarked for development includes sites beside the railway – old Sack Works, Banana Yard, and Boat Yard at Broad Street Wharf.
Steve Parry, managing director of ION Development, said: “The i9 competition attracted some excellent submissions, but Glenn Howells design stood out as an iconic building that is sympathetic within its environment, whilst still demonstrating City of Wolverhampton’s ambition to compete as a prime city centre office location.
“The development of this quality of building will broaden the appeal of City of Wolverhampton to a range of office occupiers who are seeking the highest standards. The proximity of transportation hubs and availability of cafés and restaurants on the ground floor will reinforce this part of the Interchange as a place to spend leisure time.”

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