As Birmingham's physical and cultural renaissance transforms the city centre into a vibrant regional capital, attention is shifting to the south-west of the city.
With new developments and improvements to transport high on the agenda, there are huge opportunities for the construction industry and investors.
One company which is taking advantage of the area's renewal is Ocon Construction, a building contractor operating in the Midlands, the North West and Yorkshire.
Employing 15 people at its office in Tamworth, turnover for the Midlands region in its first year of trading, ending September 2006, is expected to be £16 million. The group's turnover for the same period is expected to be around £95 million.
"Birmingham's multi-billion pound regeneration programme offers major opportunities for us," says Andy Ashley, commercial director for the Midlands.
"We have big ambitions for the region and our aim is to increase turnover to around £30 million by 2007."
Ocon was born out of parent company Opal Property Group - a provider of residential accommodation for the student and private residential key worker markets.
From a platform in large scale student accommodation schemes, the company is now expanding into the wider market with projects including hotels, apartments, offices, industrial and retail space.
One development which is changing the face of south west Birmingham is an 18-storey tower block located on
the corner of the busy intersection of the main A38 artery into Birmingham. It is just one example of the regeneration efforts being channelled into the area around the A38. Ocon is responsible for design and build of the scheme, which will have a glass and zinc clad tower on the main corner of the
site, providing accommodation for 604 students. Work started on-site in January and handover is scheduled to take place on August 31 2007, just in time for the new university term commencing in September that year.
The four individual blocks, known as Birmingham One, will be built to the full external footprint of the site with an internal courtyard, providing a haven for the students.
Adjoining commercial and retail areas, along with a luxury leisure suite, and an internet cafe are also an integral part of the project, providing facilities for the resident students and community as well as bringing life to the street scene of the area.
"Ocon prides itself on ensuring it supports the region and its economy by not only facilitating major developments but also by employing as much labour as possible from within the area," said Mr Ashley.
"At Birmingham One, the vast majority of the staff team live in or near the city as do over 60 per cent of our subcontract labour.
"All too often, cheap labour is brought in from elsewhere and the option for locally skilled labourers to benefit from construction projects is minimised. We believe in investing in training and skills to support the region's labour force and the construction industry as a whole."