Regeneration of Birmingham’s wholesale markets takes a major step forward

One of the largest city centre regeneration opportunities in Europe has taken a major step forward following the appointment of leading real estate company, Cushman & Wakefield to masterplan and dispose the site.

Birmingham City Council has appointed the company to regenerate the 14 hectare Smithfield market site, home of the city’s wholesale market.

The overarching vision for Birmingham Smithfield is for a landmark, sustainable, mixed use development including a family and leisure hub. It will include: a vibrant market and leisure hub, supported by independent retailers, restaurants and hotels, a lively public square, a wide pedestrian boulevard allowing people to easily access other parts of the city, integrated public transport and a residential neighbourhood offering modern, sustainable homes in a green setting.

Cushman & Wakefield will be working to evolve the masterplan with Birmingham City Council and launching the search for a delivery partner.

Designated an Enterprise Zone in 2012, the regeneration of the site will act as a catalyst for the transformation of Birmingham’s wider Southern Gateway Area. Development of the site is expected to deliver over 300,000 sq metres of new floor space, 2,000 new homes and 3,000 new jobs and an investment value of over £500 million.

The current wholesale city market will be relocated to The Hub in Witton later this year, a purpose built facility specifically designed to meet the requirements of the UK’s largest combined wholesale food market.

David Tonks, Head of Cushman & Wakefield’s Birmingham office, commented: “The Smithfield market site is one of the key regeneration opportunities in Europe and a rare chance to rejuvenate 14 hectares of land within the heart of the city centre. The site is well placed to capitalise on the rich history of the area with close proximity to the city’s world class retail offer, the creative and knowledge hub and the future High Speed 2 terminus.

“This is an exciting time for Birmingham which is currently experiencing an unprecedented period of change as billions of pounds of investment transforms the city’s economy. We are thrilled to be a part of this project which will drive the continued evolution of the city.”

Councillor John Clancy, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Smithfield is without doubt one of the most exciting regeneration opportunities in Birmingham for years and will turn the area currently occupied by the wholesale markets into an exciting and vibrant addition to the city centre.

“Crucially, Smithfield will deliver jobs, homes, and modern public spaces and play a crucial part in the ongoing transformation of the Southern Gateway Area.”

Smithfield Market has a long and rich heritage dating back to 1166, when Peter de Bermingham obtained a royal charter to hold a market at his castle. The market developed in the 1700s to expand from primarily cloth and meat trade to include cattle, horses, corn and food.

During World War Two, the market was partially destroyed during the bombing of New Street leaving an empty shell and, after operating as an open market, the construction of the current wholesale market completed in 1975.