Birmingham has seen significant transformation in recent years but this is nothing compared to what will happen in the future....
Investors have already seen projects such as the £500 million Paradise scheme arrive plus the revamp of Birmingham's largest public space, Centenary Square, and the reopening of historical Brum landmark The Grand Hotel after a £45m restoration.
However, the future plans for the city are so exciting, it is easy to understand why continual investment, both commercially and residentially continues to flow into the city.
Let's have a look at our Super 7 transformational changes coming to the UK's second city.
1. HS2 - High speed rail link to London
The Birmingham to London route of HS2 works have been fully underway for some time and the Curzon Street hub site will provide a new dynamic to the city. Works are expected to complete in 7-8 years and with a second phase linking Birmingham to the North-west powerhouse region. Travel time to London will reduce to a ridiculous 52 minutes!
We have already seen an influx of businesses leaving London and other European cities and identifying Birmingham as their new home. Improved and faster transport links will result in even more business investment which will establish the city as the true beating heart of the country.
2. Birmingham Smithfield regeneration
The Bullring shopping centre is an iconic part of Birmingham City centre but the area around Bullring markets was first known as Smithfield markets dating back to 1935.
The neglected Smithfield Market region will permanently alter the landscape of Birmingham simultaneously regenerating the south of the city centre whilst also bringing "food, culture and community together" with its commercial and residential revamp.
The £1.9 billion scheme which will include 3,000 houses, a new home for the historic Bull Ring Markets, shops, a hotel and a new public square.
For those already familiar with Brindleyplace, the Smithfield site will be double in size!
3. Colmore Row business district
With the new 26-storey 103 Colmore Row (more on that later), now transforming the business districts' skyline, a multimillion-pound revamp of Snow Hill and Colmore Row is now also underway. The 'public realm' redevelopment will restrict traffic flow at the heart of Birmingham's business district, making it more pedestrian-friendly.
The design project is being delivered by a team of consultants led by international architects and urbanists, Broadway Malyan. Danny Crump, director of Urbanism at architects Broadway Malyan, said in summer 2020: "This is a really exciting programme. There has been a recent appetite – given the current Covid 19 situation – to provide spaces where people can safely walk, exercise and go about their daily business.
"Our healthy streets approach aligned with community-led placemaking will breathe much-needed new life to the area by a high-quality public realm and a new cultural offering. "
The Snow Hill development should be finished by the summer.
BirminghamLive reports that Waterloo Street and Colmore Row will be upgraded after the Commonwealth Games with New Street, Lower New Street and High Street all set to benefit too in the years ahead.
4. Unrivalled dining experiences
Joining the Marco Pierre White steakhouse at The Cube, the new restaurant in the spectacular 26-storey 103 Colmore Row tower will be open by this summer thus providing two breath-taking 'dining with a view' options this year.
However, 103 Colmore Row's restaurant looks likely to be a decidedly more decadent experience.
The acclaimed D&D London restaurant group will take over the prime rooftop space - as well as a separate cocktail bar and café on the ground floor.
Situated on the 24th floor - with the double-height of two floors - it will give diners panoramic views across the city.
The style of cuisine at the restaurant has not been confirmed yet but according to D&D London's CEO, you can expect a very high-end dining experience.
Speaking in October, CEO Des Gunewardena said the Birmingham site will be slightly more formal than its other UK eateries.
The group's other high profile landmark venues include 20 Stories in Manchester and London's Bluebird Chelsea, Quaglinos and King Cross German Gymnasium restaurant.
We are also set to see a third rooftop restaurant at 100 Broad Street - a 61 storey tower that will offer the "UK's highest altitude dining experience outside London". The skyscraper will also comprise of 500 high-end luxury apartments.
Scheme designers Glancy Nicholls Architects said: “Standing at 193m tall with a super slim profile, 100 Broad Street will be the pinnacle high rise skyscraper in the emerging Broad Street cluster of tall buildings.
“Located within the building’s glazed crown will be the highest altitude dining experience found in the UK outside of the capital with a sky lounge and fine dining restaurant.”
100 Broad Street has a final completion date of 2024.
5. Paradise City
Billed as "the most significant development Birmingham has seen for a generation" and a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to boost the city's standing internationally", the Paradise development is already looking like the glittering jewel in Birmingham's crown. But there is significantly more to come for this exciting project.
By summer 2022, One Centenary Way will be complete. The project comprises of a 16 storey building providing office and retail accommodation and a gorgeous new public realm walk-through from Chamberlain Square.
From 2023 onwards, expect a new 180,000 sq ft commercial building - Three Chamberlain Square - a new 17-storey hotel on the corner of Paradise Street and a series of new public squares and pedestrian routes.
Phase 3 will include more commercial use buildings and a 49-storey residential tower called Octagon -claimed to be the world's tallest pure octagonal residential building.
The entire Paradise development is due for completion in 2028.
6. Digbeth transformation
After years of neglect, the Eastside area of Birmingham is finally coming into its own.
The redevelopment of Digbeth is set to become one of the largest projects ever undertaken in the city, with new homes, shops, restaurants, cafés and leisure facilities all to be built in the area. Apartments, nightclubs, student accommodation and even a 'sky park' have been included in the approved plans.
This also includes a huge 479-apartment building.
CGI images of the development show a huge 6-10 storey building on land bounded by Bradford Street, Birchall Street, Cheapside & the River Rea, with those buildings currently occupying the site due to be demolished to make way.
7. New ways to move around the city
There is so much in Digbeth to already enjoy - such as amazing bars, restaurants and of course the incredible street art, which makes it pretty much an open-air gallery.
So it's truly thrilling that by 2026 it will finally feel more part of our city centre -as it will be reachable on tram.
After the Commonwealth Games have concluded, Midland Metro Alliance, who are planning, designing and building the route on behalf of Transport for West Midlands, will continue construction in the areas between Digbeth and the city centre.
The under-construction £227 million Eastside West Midlands Metro tram extension will run all the way to the Old Crown area of High Street Deritend.
A spokesman from Midland Metro Alliance told us:" This Birmingham Eastside Metro extension will provide new and improved public transport links to the east of the and its creative quarter. It will also connect the Curzon Street HS2 station to the Metro network, maximising interchange opportunities with various modes of public transport."
And after 2021 delays, we can look forward to The Birmingham Westside Metro extension to Hagley Road via Brindleyplace and Five Ways in 2022.
Over the next couple of years, we can look forward to the three new train stations in Birmingham - Moseley, Kings Heath, and Hazelwell. The move will mean the reopening of Birmingham’s Camp Hill railway line, which has been closed since the Second World War - in a bid to "reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality".
Services to Moseley, Kings Heath and Hazelwell Stations are due to begin in 2023.
Thank you to Birminghamlive for their inspiration.