Plans to regenerate Birmingham city centre will take a giant leap forward today with the launch of the city's urban regeneration company.
The new company, to be unveiled in the city today, will lead the redevelopment around Curzon Street where Birmingham's HS2 terminus would be built, and is set to deliver 14,000 jobs and a boost of up to £1.3 billion to the local economy.
It will be the only company of its kind in the city but will follow in the footsteps of other groundbreaking developments, like the London 2012 Olympics and Canary Wharf, which had their own regeneration outfits to drive progress.
The announcement is being made by senior government and city figures who are also unveiling the relocation of the HS2 construction HQ to the city.
The company already has significant financial clout, after £30 million worth of funding was secured from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) to support development activity in the Curzon Street area.
Birmingham City Council's director of planning Waheed Nazir told the Post this was a major step in delivering the Birmingham Curzon Masterplan - the largest redevelopment of the city centre in a generation.
He said: "The reason is we want to give it a focus. There is so much going on it is almost just another project but we don't want it to be like that.
"The company will be made of the city council, Centro, HS2, the national regen company and the LEP. You have got almost every part of those there to deliver growth around the table."
Called the Birmingham Curzon Urban Regeneration Company, it will lead the development of more than 140 hectares of land around Curzon Street in the heart of the city centre.
The redevelopment will create 14,000 jobs, 600,000 square metres of new employment floorspace and 2,000 homes, contributing up to £1.3 billion a year to the local economy.
Mr Nazir added: "You need a regen company because you are creating a whole new quarter. There are so many considerations and it is bringing it all together.
"There's the Metro, Paternoster Place, the canals, Typhoo Wharf and the residential elements. In any other city, that would almost be a council in its own right."
The establishment of the regeneration body represents a bold and new approach to driving local economic growth, in what is a major transfer of power away from central government.
It will create a strong partnership between local and national bodies with the city council, GBSLEP, HS2 and the Government which are all on the board.
GBSLEP chair Andy Street said: "Greater Birmingham is helping lead Britain's economic recovery, showing the rest of the country the road ahead in areas such as manufacturing, exports and digital business.
"But we have even more ambitious plans for the future and HS2 is integral to that. That's why I'm delighted to announce that the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP will be investing £30 million to unleash and unlock the potential of Birmingham Curzon."
HS2 chairman David Higgins said: "The lasting impact of HS2 will, in the end, be determined by how successfully local authorities and regions use it as a catalyst to transform and develop not just their economies but also the look and feel of the areas it touches.
"The Birmingham Curzon Urban Regeneration Company will, therefore, be hugely important both for Birmingham and the rest of the West Midlands and also as an example to the rest of the cities along the route."
City council leader Sir Albert Bore added: "It is essential that we have the power to make local decisions and the regeneration company will allow us to realise the full potential and benefit of HS2 for this area."
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