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Review of 2017 - March: Life sciences campus deal, pay day for ex-Villa chief and Symphony Hall expansion

A major deal was announced in March which will see University of Birmingham lead development of a life science campus while details of ex-Aston Villa chief Tom Fox's final pay day were emerged

University of Birmingham announced a life sciences campus deal for Selly Oak in March

University of Birmingham agrees life sciences campus deal

The University of Birmingham will lead development of a new life sciences park in a city suburb after agreeing a land deal, it was announced in March.

The university acquired ten acres of the Battery Park site close to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Selly Oak, where a major new medical campus will be built called Birmingham Life Sciences Park.

The park will include state-of-the-art research and commercial facilities which will bring together partners in a bid to drive innovation and harness the academic, clinical and commercial sectors in the city.

The aim is to support R&D to take innovative new healthcare technologies from the early stages of concept to real life application.

Final Villa pay day for ex-chief exec Tom Fox

It emerged this month that Aston Villa's former chief executive Tom Fox enjoyed one final bumper pay day before leaving the club in March 2016.

Mr Fox spent 19 months in charge at Villa but new annual accounts revealed that his annual salary package more than doubled to £2.9 million in the same season Villa were relegated.

The hike contributed to a staggering £9.2 million year-on-year increase in the club's overall wage bill to £93 million, in the same season - 2015/16 - that it finished bottom of the Premier League and was relegated to the Championship.

Aston Villa had earlier issued a brief statement ahead of the annual results appearing on Companies House in which it announced its losses had trebled to £81.3 million in the year to May 31, 2016, the majority of this was £79.6 million worth of one-off impairment charges.

Revenue dropped by £6.9 million to £108.8 million.

Expansion of Symphony Hall features in £392 million boost for Midlands jobs

A huge funding package for the Midlands worth almost £400 million was announced by the Government.

The region is set to get super-fast 5G mobile services, £10 million for an extension to Symphony Hall in the city centre and support for a £250 million scheme to help small businesses.

Also announced in the package was up to £10 million to improve the station at the University of Birmingham in a bid to reduce overcrowding and £25 million will be spent to cut traffic congestion and improve roads in the Black Country.

An official art collection, currently housed in Government buildings, could be moved to Birmingham, to create a major new tourist attraction and bring more visitors to the city.

Birmingham's Symphony Hall is set to receive a funding boost

New UK Central 'Hub' to create 77,500 jobs

A landmark growth plan which will create more than 77,000 jobs and add over £4 billion to the region's economy was set out this month.

Business and public sector leaders outlined a 20-year vision for the UK Central site, in Solihull, which will include new homes, commercial space and transport infrastructure to join up key assets such as the NEC and new HS2 station.

The plan was revealed during MIPIM, the international property conference held every year in Cannes in the south of France.

The UK Central Hub has 8.34 million sq ft of development land and space for up to 4,000 homes and the growth plan expects to create 77,500 new jobs and add £4.1 billion GVA to the local economy.

New future revealed for former Fiddle & Bone pub

A new future for the much-missed former music pub Fiddle & Bone emerged in March.

The venue, in Sheepcote Street, had been bought by Mosaic Pub and Dining Group which has since re-opened it as a gin bar under the name 'The Distillery'.

The canalside venue has a full menu and a gin bar and distillery and also hosts masterclasses.

Mosaic is the company behind the renovation of Vertu in the Jewellery Quarter, now called The Button Factory.

First pictures of how new sky bar in Colmore Row will look

New images showing how Birmingham's latest city centre rooftop restaurant will look were revealed in March.

The CGIs show the new venue atop 103 Colmore Row, the replacement for the old NatWest Tower which has now been demolished.

The restaurant will be on the 24th floor of the £60 million development and have a bar and room for 175 diners with 26ft tall windows all around its perimeter, providing panoramic views of the city.

The interior will have black marble flooring, timber and artwork as well as a dedicated lift from the building's lobby.

Developers behind the project say the restaurant will create a glowing lantern effect at night which will be visible for miles.

This CGI released in March showed how a new sky bar could look

Designs unveiled for new £4m Digbeth music school

New images were revealed in March showing designs for a £4 million music institute in Birmingham which opened later in 2017.

The British & Irish Modern Music Institute is one of the largest music education specialists in Europe and counts James Bay, Tom Odell and George Ezra among its alumni.

The new venue, which has been designed by Jewellery Quarter-based architecture practice BHP, is in Floodgate Street, Digbeth and eventually opened in October.

Nick Smith, associate director of BHP Design, said: "We are really excited about the development of the BIMM college in Digbeth as it will really set the tone for the redevelopment of the area and will become a real creative hub in the creative centre of Birmingham."

Birmingham flats plan back again

The developer behind Birmingham's most-expensive city centre apartment announced plans to lead a stalled scheme off Broad Street.

Jewellery Quarter-based Elevate Property Group revealed this month it had taken on plans to build new apartments on a pay and display car park in Tennant Street.

The site was the subject of previous applications by a London-based, private developer called Romar Investments but the project stalled amid wrangles with the city council over parking and how many flats could be built.

It was initially going to be 12 storeys but was taken down by 50 per cent.

In 2015, Elevate carried out a regeneration of the former Debenhams warehouse in Holloway Head which included a penthouse pad sold for £1.8 million.

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