Council backs plans for expansion of Innovation Birmingham

How the Maker Wharf facility will look

Proposals to expand facilities at Innovation Birmingham Campus in order to further the growth of city’s digital industries sector have been granted planning consent.

The 21,527 sq ft fabrication and prototyping facility will be the third building developed on the site in three years, following iCentrum and last year’s Universities Centre.

The scheme is part of a wider plan to double the size of the campus over the next three years.

The new facility, Maker Wharf, will benefit from digital prototyping facility and equipment to promote the development of innovative commercial technical and creative products; with flexible office space and additional commercial digital fabrication and manufacturing space arranged over the remaining three floors.

The four-storey building, designed by AHR, will be located adjacent to the 42,149 sq ft iCentrum building.

Councillors on Birmingham’s planning committee said the new facility would be a welcome addition to a sector that will gain increasing importance in years to come.

Building work is scheduled to begin shortly, with a view to the facility opening by spring 2018. Innovation Birmingham is already in talks with potential tenants.

David Hardman, CEO at Innovation Birmingham, said: “The operational aim of Maker Wharf will be to link Birmingham’s manufacturing legacy to the new ‘maker movement’. Given our digital focus the new facilities will bridge digital technologies to the maker economy.

“In addition, we are also looking to encourage practical collaborations between our digital/tech community with practicing artists across the digital arts spectrum. We have already secured considerable interest in Maker Wharf and I believe it will also provide greater depth, spirit and resilience to our connected innovation community on the campus and across the city.”