business

Review of 2016 - January: UCB expansion, new Villa chairman and Cadbury tax

Our Review of the Year kicks off with the news that University College Birmingham was planning a major expansion of its campus in the Jewellery Quarter and a prominent businessman joined the Villa board

Aston Villa welcomed a new chairman in January....for a little while at least

University College Birmingham plans more regen for Jewellery Quarter campus

A major regeneration of run-down buildings in the Jewellery Quarter was unveiled in January, a project expected to created almost 200 new jobs.

The scheme, in Charlotte Street and George Street, is the second phase of UCB's £90 million campus redevelopment there which saw new facilities opened in September 2014 called McIntyre House.

This second phase, work on which is still due to start, comprises almost 250,000 sq ft of lecture rooms, a restaurant, real-life training rooms and a sports hall in two newly constructed buildings alongside 248 parking spaces via a multi-storey car park and courtyard.

There will also be partial demolition of 9 Charlotte Street and 12 George Street, better known as the former home of printer James Cond whose branding still remains clearly visible on the properties.

Steve Hollis appointed new Aston Villa chairman

Prominent Birmingham businessman Steve Hollis was appointed to the role of Aston Villa's new chairman this month.

Mr Hollis is the former Midlands regional chairman of financial services firm KPMG and current chairman of both Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership and Birmingham Metropolitan College Corporation.

He admitted at the time it was a surprise to be approached by Villa's then owner Randy Lerner as "chairing one of the UK's best known football clubs" was not on his list of possible career opportunities.

Born near Liverpool, Mr Hollis grew up supporting Manchester City. He left the role when Tony Xia took over the club during the summer.

Fight to bring Aston Martin to Sutton Coldfield

Birmingham City Council's leader said convincing Aston Martin to build a new factory in north Birmingham was a priority.

The city was campaigning to get the luxury car brand to open a new factory on green belt land near Sutton Coldfield - one of three sites which were in the running.

Council leader John Clancy said, despite suggestions to the contrary by Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell, the authority was doing everything possible to attract Aston Martin.

Sadly, the bid was not successful as Aston Martin plumped for a site in South Wales a few weeks later to host its second UK manufacturing facility.

Cadbury family would 'spin in their urns' over unpaid tax

Mondelēz International was attacked by a descendent of the Cadbury family after she insisted her ancestors would be "spinning in their urns" over the way the business was being ran.

Ruth Cadbury, who is related to the joint founder of the Bournville factory Richard Cadbury, condemned Mondelēz for paying no corporation tax in the UK in 2014.

Mondelēz International is Cadbury's parent company after breaking out from Kraft Foods, the company which took over Cadbury in 2010 in a controversial £11.7 billion deal.

It emerged during December 2015 how, despite Cadbury UK making profit of £96.5 million, the US-based multinational had paid no corporation tax in Britain in 2014.

Davenports to open new Dares bar in Moseley

Historic brewery Davenports unveiled its second new bar project of the month when it announced plans to launch in the former HSBC branch in Moseley.

Its plans include the opening of a craft beer and cocktail bar, restaurant and ten-bedroom hotel, and follow a similar project for the old Jewellery Quarter police station, also revealed in January.

The building, at 97-99 Alcester Road, whose façade would be restored as part of the project, was home to HSBC until summer 2015.

Davenports is still yet to start work on either the Moseley or Jewellery Quarter projects.

If they ever come to fruition, they will join a long list of former banks in Birmingham which now house bars, cafés and restaurants.

New cinema and restaurants set for Erdington

Plans to carry out a wholesale revamp of Erdington's 1960s shopping centre were unveiled in January, including new restaurants and a cinema.

Property investment group New River Retail, which owns Central Square in Erdington, wants to improve the centre's "outdated and unattractive" appearance.

It applied for new uses for the town centre retail hub in a bid to attract a broader range of tenants.

The centre, in High Street, counts Specsavers, Card Factory, Iceland and EE among its retailers but New River Retail wants to merge vacant units and turn them into leisure facilities.

The centre will also be rebranded B23 Square.

Gensler chief unveils vision for new Digbeth home

Global architecture practice Gensler settled into its new home in Digbeth, with the new office head saying the base could have hundreds of staff in years to come.

Gensler, which is behind the mammoth Shanghai Tower project in China, opened its first UK office outside of London at the Custard Factory and had high hopes for the team in Birmingham.

Speaking to the Post, Birmingham office chief Alistair Cory said the 20-strong team there could grow into the hundreds over in the long-term.

He said the firm hoped to play a part in the ongoing regeneration of the city and Digbeth's proximity to key sites like the Wholesale Markets and Curzon Street HS2 station played a part in the decision to move there.

Global turmoil bites in 2016 Birmingham Post Rich List

The region's richest got poorer during 2015 after the total value of the Birmingham Post Rich List 2016 was hit by a declining export market, we unveiled in January.

The total value of the 50 wealthiest people in the West Midlands fell from £17.4 billion to less than £17 billion.

Among those to see their value fall was Lord Paul of Marylebone, whose company Caparo Industries collapsed, with £800 million wiped off his fortune.

And it was not only manufacturers. James Holder, founder of fashion retailer SuperGroup, also saw his fortune dip by £10 million because of a slowdown in China.

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