Hippodrome expansion deal announcement causes tension between leaders

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street has been accused of “point scoring” by the leader of Birmingham City Council after Street announced the West Midlands Combined Authority will step in to support the expansion of the Birmingham Hippodrome.

The Southside Building has been acquired by The Hippodrome following a business loan from the WMCA and Frontier Development Capital, following the council pulling out of the project due to its ongoing financial issues.

On Twitter/X Street said: “Birmingham City’s Council’s financial woes mean they’re pulling out of some projects they’d previously committed to.

“Thankfully we’re on hand to step in and help where we can”.

This prompted a response from Cllr John Cotton: “Andy, you really should be working with us to campaign for more funding after £1billion cuts instead of point scoring. You’re better than this…”

Formerly known as Albany House, The Southside Building is an 11-storey office block and retail space located next to the Hippodrome on Hurst Street.

Jon Gilchrist, artistic director & CEO of Birmingham Hippodrome said: “We look forward to working with the existing tenants and growing more work opportunities for the city.

“We will be exploring how we can utilise vacant units for use by artists and cultural organisations in the city. We are so proud to be part of Southside and are committed to ensuring it is a fantastic place to work and visit.”

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands said: “I’m pleased that we’ve been able to step in and help facilitate this acquisition by the Hippodrome – a Birmingham cultural institution.

“In recent years, the West Midlands Combined Authority has played its part as an enabler where possible – supporting and championing our regional arts and cultural sector.

“This vibrant sector brings joy to local people and contributes hugely to our region’s economy. That’s why it’s wonderful to be able to back Birmingham Hippodrome in this way and at this time – an organisation that has vision and values that very much align with those of the WMCA.”

Kieren Turner-Owen, associate director at Frontier Development Capital added: “We are delighted to assist Birmingham Hippodrome in its acquisition of the Southside Building, helping to further promote and support the arts and culture sector and offerings in and around Birmingham.”

CBRE advised on the acquisition and will continue the day-to-day management of the building.

Russ Hill and Emily Davis from Squire Patton Boggs advised Frontier Development Capital (WMCA) on the loan.

Click here to sign up to receive our new South West business news...