The Birmingham Post revealed in May that £50 million is set to be invested in the Mailbox shopping and leisure destination to improve facilities and attract more customers.
Its new owners Brockton Capital and partner Milligan Retail, which bought the Mailbox two years ago, have invested after being impressed by plans for the city – including the John Lewis and Library of Birmingham developments – and are set to spend £50 million on a new roof, improved public areas and store changes that will see Harvey Nichols double its city presence.
Construction work is expected to begin next year and be completed by 2015. The project will also create 500 new jobs.
Simon Samuels, of Mailbox owners Brockton Capital, said the plans were a ringing endorsement of the city centre’s regeneration, which also includes the redesigned New Street station scheme.
“We love Birmingham,” he said.
“We love what Birmingham City Council are doing to promote the city, including some very big infrastructure projects which are attracting additional investment into the city.
“And we love what that means for the Mailbox. The New Street redevelopment is going to be transformational – in fact the evidence is that it has been transformational already.”
Brockton took over the Mailbox with partner Milligan Retail in a £127 million deal with the Birmingham Development Company.
Plans for the refit were drawn up by architect Stanton Williams and work is set to begin in the summer and be completed by spring 2015.
Harvey Nichols will move to a new 45,000 sq ft store when the development is relaunched but there are also plans for new outside public areas.
The Mailbox owners are also working with Birmingham City Council to introduce a new improved pedestrian area around the underpass beneath Suffolk Street Queensway, improving access from Navigation Street and New Street.
The work means Jaeger, LK Bennett and Gieves and Hawkes have closed temporarily while the work takes place.
Harvey Nichols and the Armani store will trade throughout, as will the Toni and Guy and Nicky Clarke salons, all restaurants, bars and the car park.
Harvey Nichols group chief executive Joseph Wan said: “We believe our participation in this redevelopment will underline our commitment to Birmingham and its shoppers – it is testimony to our success in the city as well as the success of the city itself.
“The new store will enable us to greatly expand for our customers the best of fashion, beauty, accessories and food.”
Milligan Retail chief executive John Milligan said there was strong demand for “destination shopping”.
He said: “The idea is people come here and spend half a day. At the moment it’s more of a street scene and we want to get loyal customers coming here and spending time.
“Birmingham will be the only city outside London to have a Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and John Lewis.
“While they are all different, there is a shared customer and they are all quite close to each other. You would have to jump in a cab between them in London, whereas you can walk it here.”
Mr Milligan, who was previously involved in the deal for Hammerson to take a stake in the Bullring, said a key part of the work was bringing the entrance closer to New Street through further improvements to the underpass.
He added: “John Lewis being close to us is brilliant. What has come of research is that the people that will be our shoppers, that go for quality brands and luxury, want space and to be away from the hustle and bustle of New Street.
“That is why the Mailbox works.”
Jonathan Cheetham, chair of Retail Birmingham, said the Mailbox investment will strengthen the city centre.
He added: “New Street and High Street offer some of the UK’s biggest names and there are a growing number of independent retailers with the city’s arcades, with Great Western Arcade seeing significant interest for units over the last six months. Bennetts Hill is fast growing as a dining quarter in the heart of the city centre, while Cannon Street offers many high-end brands.
“With this in mind, Retail Birmingham will continue to support its members to ensure that they remain in position to benefit as the city retail offer is enriched and the visitor experience radically improves.”
Investment: £50 million
Developers: Brockton Capital and Milligan Retail
Size: Harvey Nichols to double store size to 45,000 sq ft
Construction: Starts 2014 and completes 2015
- This article is part of the Birmingham Skyline 2014 supplement produced by the Birmingham Post