Birmingham City Council (BCC) has announced Lendlease as the preferred developer for the former site of the wholesale markets in Birmingham.

At £1.5bn, this will be the largest investment under the 2010 ‘Big City Plan’ to date. The news was announced during a city council meeting at city hall.

Ian Ward, lead councillor of Birmingham City Council says:

“We are extremely excited to be working with Lendlease who are an internationally leading developer with a proven track record of bringing forward major development schemes. The delivery of Birmingham Smithfield will be a major boost for Birmingham.”

Where is Smithfield?

Smithfield is located a few minutes' walk from Bullring shopping centre.Fahima Khatun / I Am Birmingham
Formerly the market hub of Birmingham, the Smithfield site is a short walk from the Bullring shopping centre and New Street station.

This 17-hectare space can be viewed from the top of the Pershore Street multi-storey carpark.

Who are Lendlease?

Lendlease are a global property and infrastructure development company. The company is based in Sydney, Australia and expands across Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Prior to Smithfield, BCC chose the company as the preferred developer for Perry Bar.

CEO of Lendlease Europe, Dan Labbad, says:

“Smithfield is the birthplace of Birmingham, known for its markets which have always been at the heart of the city. Much like Birmingham itself, the area is brimming with creativity and opportunity.”

What next?

“Our plans for the redevelopment will respect [Birmingham’s] heritage and bring more jobs, homes and environmental benefits to the area and the people of Birmingham.” – Dan Labbad.

Birmingham City Council plan to officially award Lendlease with the Birmingham Smithfield Development Partner contract by the end of this year. Development is then set to commence from 2022.

Tim Pile, Chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), says:

“As one of our largest Enterprise Zone sites, Birmingham Smithfield will play a crucial role in generating economic growth and job creation for the city and its surrounding areas. “

According to BCC, the first phase of the 15-year scheme will include new homes, new retail markets and public realm.

Corporate Director for Economy at Birmingham City Council, Waheed Nazir, says:

“Working with Lendlease we will be creating a new family leisure destination complemented by an exciting mix of cultural facilities, independent retail and business space”

Reaction so far

The initial reaction to Lendlease’s new endeavour has been overall positive and optimistic. However, as word spreads about the city council’s new partnership, mixed opinions are likely to surface.

Lobbying campaign ‘CityPark4Brum’ has over 10,000 signatures backing an alternative plan for Smithfield to be transformed into a multipurpose open green-space.

Campaign leader Jim Tucker believes an open space is greatly needed in the city centre and this was not considered in BCC’s initial Masterplan for the area.

‘CityPark4Brum’ has been lobbying the council’s plan since 2015 over social media.

The petition was handed to the city council on Monday 14th January.

Find out more here.

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