Argent, the firm responsible for delivering award-winning Brindleyplace, is to work with Birmingham City Council to produce plans for a £1.2 billion transformation of the highly sensitive Paradise Circus site.
The council cabinet will agree next week to enter into an exclusivity agreement, giving Argent sole rights to explore options for redeveloping land currently occupied by the Central Library, the Conservatorie, the Copthorne Hotel and Government offices.
Described by council leaders as the most important regeneration scheme for decades, the likely demolition of all the buildings within Paradise Circus offers a unique opportunity to open new pedestrian routes linking New Street and Victoria Square with the planned new library in Centenary Square.
But Argent faces a difficult task in coming up with a scheme to complement historic listed buildings including the Town Hall and Council House.
Proposals to build high-rise offices provoked a storm of protest four years ago and it is understood that Argent has been asked to devise a mixed-use scheme with office, residential, retail and hotel development similar in design and quality to Brindleyplace.
Argent and the council own or lease most of Paradise Circus, and are liaising with the other significant land owners in the area including Birmingham City University and the Copthorne Hotel.
Design work will go ahead on the assumption the Government will decide not to list the Central Library building, enabling it to be demolished. A decision by the Culture Minister is imminent.
Argent joint managing director Gary Taylor said: “We are extremely excited by the potential which this project offers to breathe new life into Paradise Circus which we believe is the most strategically located large scale redevelopment project in the UK, outside of London.
“The site offers an enormous opportunity to boost Birmingham’s reputation by uniting the east and west with a landmark development that has the potential to drive significant inward investment into the area.”
Neville Summerfield, the cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Redeveloping Paradise Circus is a key component of our plans to regenerate and reinvigorate vital areas of the city centre. By working with a prominent developer such as Argent, which has proven its expertise and creative flair for regeneration projects with the stunningly successful Brindleyplace, we are confident that we can transform this site into a vibrant, popular and dynamic location.”