Deals have been agreed on two new canalside restaurants as part of the redevelopment of Birmingham's NIA which will see it rebranded the Barclaycard Arena.

Retro-American restaurant Ed's Diner, which has an outlet on the ground floor of Selfridges, and Tapas bar La Tasca will open new venues as part of the £26 million work set to be completed in November.

They will be the first of four restaurants to open fronting onto the canal leading up to Brindleyplace ahead of the grand opening of the arena on December 2.

NIA managing director Phil Mead said they would help increase footfall between the arena and the city centre and offer a new experience for passers-by.

He said: "There are four retail units in total which are being developed facing out over the canals. They will be open seven days a week which will give a real destination feel to the venue.

"There is nothing else like it in Birmingham really, even in Brindleyplace the restaurants aren't actually on the same level as the canal.

"Two restaurants will be opened by December 2, and perhaps the third. We are catering to a wide demographic. The first one will be Ed's Diner and the second one will be a La Tasca, so they will be complementary."

The fit-out at Ed's Diner will begin this week and will be shortly followed by the work on La Tasca.

In all, 16,000 sq ft of space for food and drink establishments has been created as part of the wider refurbishment at the arena.

It forms part of a total of almost 65,000 sq ft of floorspace, which is being added to the venue to improve facilities for visitors.

 

Mr Mead said the work was key to remaining internationally competitive in terms of attracting top stars, and said it had already started to attract big names.

"Particularly on the international stage we have noticed a difference," he said.

"Raising the bar helped us to get to a point where we could get the World Indoor Athletics. We also have some great acts - Lionel Ritchie, The Who, Paloma Faith and Strictly Come Dancing - it's really starting to come together."

He added: "We are launching a world-class arena and we thought there needs to be a world-class artist like Michael Bublé. To have him coming on a December date is going to be very special - like a Christmas party.

"We persuaded him to add a couple of extra days to his tour and, being the sort of artist he is, he was happy to do it."

Mr Mead said the changes would mean the arena will have a larger standing capacity than any of its rivals.

The work included extending concourses from 20ft to 72ft wide while a new Barclaycard lounge and improved corporate areas will offer luxurious spots for a drink while waiting.

Mr Mead added: "We have seven weeks of intensive fit-out to go but everything is going to plan.

"At the start, the target was the end of the year so it's gone better than expected and it is looking like mid-November now.

"Some of the work done recently includes two new show cabins on the balcony level and a system which allows us to put the stage further back.

"All the seating has been done - there is not much left that can trip us up, hopefully."