Birmingham’s £360m Curzon Wharf vision goes to planners

How Curzon Wharf will look

A vision to create the world’s first mixed-use net zero carbon ready development in Birmingham could take a huge step closer to becoming reality next week when the proposals go before city planners with a positive recommendation for approval.

The £360m waterfront ecosystem, known as Curzon Wharf, could be developed in a key quarter of Birmingham city centre and generate more than1,000 jobs, as calculated by planning specialists Turley and CBRE.

The masterplan development of almost one million square feet, within an eight-minute walk of the HS2 Curzon Street Station, is expected to boost Birmingham’s economy by at least £151m.

Curzon Wharf has been welcomed by senior civic leaders, key figures and businesses from Birmingham including West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr Ian Ward, Neil Rami, chief executive of the West Midlands Growth Company, Andy Wilkinson, chair of the Institute of Directors, Preet Gill MP and the Knowledge Quarter Alliance which includes Aston University, Birmingham City University, Bruntwood, Millennium Point, Unite Union, HS2, Birmingham Ormiston Academy and Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

Andy Street, at the time of the launch of the plans, said: “This is an incredibly exciting plan, with the potential to create more than 1,000 jobs at what will be a critical time for our region’s economy as we recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is brilliant to see how innovative the masterplan is, not only through being net-zero and contributing towards our #WM2041 goal, but also with the life sciences element which will help create a number of high-skilled, well-paid jobs in a key industry of the future, building on the recent investment at the life sciences site in Selly Oak.”

Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr Ian Ward, has said: “This exciting project will put Birmingham right at the forefront of green, sustainable development and underlines our determination to tackle the climate crisis, while also creating jobs and opportunities for people across the city. Birmingham has the ambition and vision to become a more resilient, sustainable and inclusive city and Curzon Wharf shows our determination to turn vision into reality.”

New residential buildings – including Birmingham’s tallest tower – shops and offices, as well as research and development and life sciences facilities will feature on the 993,046 sq ft site which is currently occupied by graffiti-laden industrial units constructed in the 1960s.

The hybrid plans, being considered by Birmingham City Council planning committee on Thursday, February 23, has been the process of seven years of consultation with the local authority, the public, and a world-class team of regeneration and built-environment specialists. Planning officers have given the proposals a positive recommendation for approval.

Tani Dulay, chief executive of Woodbourne Group, said: “Birmingham is now at a turning point and our generation has the opportunity to transform the city into one of the most sustainable and leading cities in the world. The support received by Curzon Wharf is a reflection of that. It has taken us years of hard work to get here, and I hope the committee supports these unique proposals.

“This isn’t just another development, it’s a manifesto that will position Birmingham as the UK’s leading smart and sustainable city – as demonstrated by the highly successful eco-friendly delivery of the Commonwealth Games – helping to pave the way for the country’s Green Revolution.

“It will act as a catalyst for the wider transformation of the Eastside area where a number of masterplans have been earmarked which otherwise would not be possible. It signposts Birmingham’s route to delivering transformational change to the city, promoting social, cultural and economic exchange in a truly transformative urban neighbourhood.”

A residential build to rent apartment block will stand 53 storeys high, making it Birmingham’s tallest building at 172 metres (564 feet). The purpose-built student accommodation will be 41 storeys and the middle tower 14 storeys tall.  Curzon Wharf will provide a sustainable, mixed-use space incorporating high quality accommodation providing up to 732 well-appointed student and 620 residential homes with amenity space higher than any other scheme in the city.  Luxury and leading student and build to rent operators for the buildings have already been secured.

In addition, the development will include nearly 130,000 sq ft of office, R&D and life science space, over 3,000 sq ft of retail units, more than 15,000 sq ft of leisure space, over 76,424 sq ft of new and improved public realm and 490 metres of new and improved walking and cycling routes through the site.

Planning and development consultants Turley and commercial property agents CBRE have calculated Curzon Wharf will add £2m a year in council tax and business rates and attract a New Homes Bonus of £4m.

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