business

Far East investors back Jewellery Quarter regeneration project

City developer Court Collaboration secures third set of Chinese investment to support property project which will see nearly 80 apartments built on car park site

Car park in Legge Lane which could house 78 apartments under new plans

A city developer has attracted yet more Far Eastern investment as it plans to turn a run-down car park site in the Jewellery Quarter into a new residential complex.

Court Collaboration is working with Asian investors for a third time to breathe new life into regeneration projects in Birmingham and this time is planning to build 78 apartments on the land in Legge Lane.

Prosperous Global China Capital, a consortium of high net-worth investors from China and Taiwan, is backing the £15 million project to build studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments on the pay and display car park and adjoining land close to the street's corner with Newhall Hill.

The deal has been facilitated by property consultancy Knight Frank and would tap into the historic quarter's growing popularity as a so-called urban village for young professionals in the city.

In May, the Post reported that Denise Li, president and vice-chairman at Prosperous GlobalChina Capital, had visited the city on a fact-finding mission and to meet city council leaders over plans to invest Far East cash into Birmingham's regeneration schemes.

Court Collaboration has previously worked with Chinese investors on its conversion of 130 Colmore Row, recently opened as bar Nosh & Quaff and owned by the Lasan group of restaurants, and the £16 million redevelopment of Franklin House.

Cadbury's former headquarters building, in Bournville, is being turned into 79 apartments and will be rebranded The Franklin when it opens next year.

Anthony McCourt, founder and chief executive of Court Collaboration, said: "To have secured the site at Legge Lane is a huge win for us.

"The purchase comes at a time when wealthy Chinese investors are eager to invest in projects abroad and it's important for us to capitalise on the exponential growth that Birmingham is currently experiencing."

Ms Li said she wanted to use Birmingham to show how western cities could grow with the support of Far Eastern investment.

She added: "In China, people are interested in ways to invest their money abroad, with property at the top of their list.

"Birmingham has lots of room for growth and provides us with many opportunities to help the city at a very interesting time in its history.

"This is a really interesting project for us to get started with Court Collaboration and the first of many schemes to come."

This is the second proposal to come forward in recent months for Legge Lane after developer Kendrick Homes lodged new plans to part demolish and redevelop a Grade II-listed former pen factory built in the 1890s.

The Stourbridge-based firm is planning to build 20 flats and four commercial units at 3-5 Legge Lane.

And last year, the derelict 20-21 Legge Lane was placed on the market in the hope of finding a buyer to redevelop it, again most likely for residential uses.

Birmingham College of Food, Tourism & Creative Studies had previously put forward proposals for the site in 2007, shortly before it became University College Birmingham, to create a food technology school.

This project never came to fruition since when UCB has built a new base in nearby Charlotte Street, meaning the severely derelict site has remained untouched ever since as the hunt continues to find a buyer.

Pictures: Some of the current residential schemes in Birmingham

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