Ground broken for the new home of MasterChef

Images by Digbeth-based architecture practice K4

Construction work has commenced to build the new home of MasterChef in Digbeth, transforming the Grade II listed Banana Warehouse.

The Digbeth Loc Studios is being brought forward by development company Digbeth Loc and designed by BG Projects, as part of a wider vision to form a new creative quarter for the city. Plans for the 20-acre Warwick Bar site will support 750 jobs and generate 900 homes.

Property developer Stanhope is acting as the development manager, with BAM appointed as lead contracted on the land at Fazeley Street owned by Homes England. Once completed, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight will be the asset manager.

Banana Warehouse, originally used for shipping in the 1800s, will be converted and extended into a studio and filming area and will be used by MasterChef shows such as MasterChef: The Professionals, Celebrity MasterChef, and Young MasterChef for BBC Three, as well as any festive editions.

The creation of the new Digbeth film studio comes as the BBC moves forward with plans to move their Birmingham HQ to Digbeth in a purpose-built broadcast centre which will be known as The Tea Factory.

Peter Denton at Homes England said: “The restoration of the Banana Warehouse secures an exciting future for a building that is a key historical asset. We are very pleased that this work will bring a major TV production to the heart of the West Midlands, creating unparalleled new opportunities, jobs and investment. It is a transformational achievement, and we look forward to continuing to work with our partners to realise the opportunities that Digbeth has to offer.”

Steven Knight said: “To be digging ground in Digbeth for the new home of MasterChef is the realisation of a long held dream that world class TV and film production will come and thrive in Birmingham. Since the move was first announced, Digbeth Loc. Studios have secured some phenomenal franchises and with the new BBC HQ on our doorstep we can confidently say Digbeth is the new big everything for content production.”

Alistair Shaw, development director at Stanhope, said: “We pleased to have got the first spade in the ground and get work underway to restore a listed jewel in Digbeth to its former glory. The refurbishment of the old Banana Warehouse is an important first piece in a bigger mission to sensitively transform the Warwick Bar area and to develop a new creative quarter on the canal side. Not only will the new studio play host to the distinguished MasterChef brand, but it will kickstart a wave of jobs and investment in this growing sector, which will benefit the city.”

Birmingham City Council leader Cllr John Cotton said: “We can’t wait to welcome MasterChef production to Birmingham and the BBC decision to move such a high-profile programme to Digbeth is a massive vote of confidence in our burgeoning creative sector. With MasterChef, the new BBC HQ, and the recent opening of Steven Knight’s Digbeth Loc. Studios, Birmingham is really making its mark.”

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