A multi-million pound extension to Birmingham’s historic Fort Dunlop building could see a large glass conference centre built on its 100-year-old roof.
Proposals by the new owner of the Grade A-listed building, beside the M6, include adding new meeting areas and landscaping on its roof, as well as creating multi-storey parking and shaking up a shopping parade.
The proposals, which are to be submitted to Birmingham City Council, mark the first major change at the 375,000 sq ft site since it was taken over from Urban Splash by property investment manager Tristan Capital.
Fort Dunlop, in Erdington, which is now a mixed-use development and home of the Birmingham Post, once formed part of the world’s largest factory, with 3,200 workers.
EDG Property director Neil Edginton, who is leading the project for Tristan, said several million pounds would be invested if all of the plans get council backing.
He said it was a key step towards developing the Fort into more of a leisure destination.
“Urban Splash did an amazing job, and a lot of the offices have been let, now this is the next chapter for Fort Dunlop.
“The thing that has never really taken off is the leisure and other ancillary spaces and our plan is to improve the leisure offer by making the spaces much nicer.
“You need to start by encouraging people to stay longer and you have to give them a reason to do that.”
A key part of the new plans are large glass conference spaces on the roof, to make the most of views across the city. It also includes kitchens, outdoor seating and landscaped areas on the roof.
Mr Edginton added: “The point is that there is this amazing roof space out there with some clear views across the city, but at the moment the chance of using that space is limited due to the weather.
“So we took a view we wanted to make the most of that space by creating something made from glass so you can still enjoy the views.
“There is demand for conference and meeting space, so this will be something new we can offer people.”
The proposals also include two new “garden walkways” to be used as breakout areas over lower car park areas.
With almost 3,000 workers based there, including Capita and Trinity Mirror Midlands, Mr Edginton believes there is an opportunity to bring in more amenities.
If the plans are passed, there will also be a second level added to the car park and a dedicated car park in front of the Travelodge hotel.
Mr Edginton said he was also in talks to impove bus access.
Tristan, in partnership with EDG and property manager Capital Properties, have already brought in new innovations like a Hot Tub Cinema Club day, held earlier this week, and monthly street food festivals outside.
Meanwhile, work has already begun on a new £380,000 atrium in the building.
Fort Dunlop was originally designed by Sidney Stott and WW Gibbings in the 1920s.