It’s full steam ahead for the £63 million redevelopment of Birmingham’s former Science Museum site – after spending well over a decade lying derelict.
Developer RO St Bernards (ROSB) has opened a temporary public square at its Newhall Square scheme, breathing new life into an area once best known for housing the museum.
The Jewellery Quarter site marks a mixed-use development with a public square the size of five tennis courts, and comprising offices, a Travelodge, leisure space and a car park.
Chris Bond, chief executive officer of ROSB, said: “Although the Newhall Square scheme is still under development, the hotel and office space mean that it is open for business.
“We wanted to invite people to visit Newhall Square and experience the public meeting and events space there.
“Although the temporary square is around a third of the size the proposed public square will eventually be, it gives visitors a flavour of the kind of space we are hoping to create.”
To mark the development, local artist Kate Farley has designed a collage, called “The Order of Things,” based on photographs and other items salvaged from the former Science Museum.
Meanwhile, an exhibition featuring a selection of 2,500 photographs taken at New York’s notorious Terminal Bar was recently held in the Engine Room, the refurbished former exhibition hall at the Science Museum, which fronts onto the new square.
The photographs were taken by Sheldon Nadelman at the New York bar, with black and white portraits featuring a wide range of drinkers from Irish longshoremen to pimps and drag queens.
The 100-bedroom Travelodge marks an investment of more than £5 million by the leading UK hotel budget chain.
ROSB is planning a regular programme of events at the square, which can be accessed from both Newhall Street and Charlotte Street, throughout the year.
The 2.3 acre site has lain derelict since 1997 when the Science Museum, which opened in 1951, closed in the Jewellery Quarter.