A desolate waterfront is to be transformed thanks to an ambitious £180 million project that will create up to 600 new jobs and 660 new homes.
The flagship regeneration project, which was unveiled yesterday, aims to transform 17 acres of vacant and derelict canalside brownfield land near Walsall into a thriving, high quality development over the next few years.
The Waterfront scheme will provide a mix of offices, bars and restaurants, leisure facilities and high quality public space, including new canal bridges and inlets that will rival Brindleyplace.
Tom Ansell, leader of Walsall Council, said: "Waterfront will be a tremendously exciting destination that will put Walsall on the map - a stunning landmark, creating places for people to live, restaurants, bars, leisure facilities and jobs.
"Walsall Council has played a key role in bringing this redevelopment project to life and we are working hard with our regeneration partners to deliver the first phase of this ground-breaking project. I'm tremendously proud of the council's work on this.
"Waterfront will give us another reason to feel proud of our borough and provide further encouragement for business people to continue investing in Walsall."
The project is being led by Urban Splash, which has appointed Alsop Design Limited to prepare proposals for the first new building on the site. Architects at Alsop were behind the original £350 million plans to redevelop Birmingham New Street Station.
Chairman of Urban Splash, Tom Bloxham, said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for both Urban Splash and Walsall.
"In the same way that Urban Splash has helped to reinvigorate cities like Manchester and Liverpool, we are incredibly excited by this chance to create a whole new quarter of Walsall by building on the town's strengths, the canal, the art gallery and the town centre.
"We expect to submit a planning application in the next 12 months showing how a great design for a mix of uses will create a new, world-class Waterfront for Walsall."
The scheme is jointly promoted by Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council, the Walsall Regeneration Company and Advantage West Midlands' regeneration zone initiative, Future Foundations. AWM has already started work on the site in preparation for the building work.
John Edwards, chief executive at AWM, said: "Things will never be the same in Walsall - Waterfront is a clear signal that things are changing for the better.
"Transformation of urban areas into places where people want to live and work is one of our priorities.
"As the Waterfront project develops, communities will benefit from some of the feel-good factors of regeneration: pride in a thriving and modern town centre and businesses enjoying growth, new investment and new jobs."