Work has started on the demolition of Pebble Mill to make way for a #100 million science and technology park expected to create 800 new jobs.
Regional development agency Advantage West Midlands, which has a 95 year lease on the site from freeholders Calthorpe Estates, has appointed Birmingham-based specialists DSM to undertake the demolition of the former home of the BBC.
It is a specialist job because of the extent of dangerous asbestos in the building.
The park is expected to create 36,000 sq m of world-class research and development facilities for the medical and healthcare industries.
The development links into the Central Technology Belt, a high-technology corridor running along the A38 between Aston Science Park and Malvern Science Park which was identified as a priority for value-added business following the first Rover crisis in
DSM has already started demolition which should be complete by November, following which roads and infrastructure works will be put into place.
Advantage West Midlands and Calthorpe Estates are currently receiving expressions of interest from potential occupants on the first phase of the park after the site was among the portfolio of development opportunities showcased at the Mipim conference in Cannes earlier this year.
Pebble Mill was the home of the BBC in Birmingham for 33 years before moving to new studios and offices at the Mailbox last year.
It most famously staged the Pebble Mill at One lunchtime chat show from 1973 to 1986 and popular dramas Dalziel and Pascoe and Dangerfield.
The development has been made more urgent as a result of the collapse of MG Rover.
AWM chief executive John Edwards said: ?The recent situation at MG Rover makes the progress made with our infrastructure projects in the Central Technology Belt all the more encouraging.
?The demolition of Pebble Mill is the first step on the way to creating what will undoubtedly be a world-class facility, building on Birmingham?s excellence in medical technologies.
?Meanwhile, down the A38 at Longbridge, work is now underway on a Technology Park there.
?This marks the end of one era with a building that has defined Birmingham in many ways, but also marks the dawning of a new high-technology era for the city.?
Richard Allen, chief executive of Calthorpe Estates, said: ?This is a significant step in the development of a project which will ultimately reinforce the importance of the knowledge-based industries to the region and generate many new jobs.
?The site will provide a high-profile location for the biomedics industry and will offer an opportunity to secure advances within the scientific and medical sectors.?
Central Technology Belt chief executive Alan Folwell said: ?Birmingham?s universities offer world-class research, development and technology transfer to start ups, existing companies and inward investors.
?The facilities and excellent location of Pebble Mill will enhance the ability of the universities to interact with industry and so bring about sustainable knowledge-based economic regeneration.?
Birmingham City Council director of planning and regeneration, Clive Dutton, said: ?This is the kind of ambitious scheme we need to bring forward if we are to secure the economic future for Birmingham and the region following the MG Rover crisis.
?Developing this key site will help to create the high technology and science-based employment we need.?