The chief executive and foreign dignitaries visiting Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games this summer will be persuaded by politicians who hope the event will usher in a “golden decade” for investing in the city.
The former Birmingham Municipal Bank house next to the HSBC headquarters in Centennial Square will be converted into a “UK House” where visitors will be able to invest in eight sectors, including tourism, creative and digital, business services and sports.
“It feels like Birmingham time,” said City Council leader Ian Ward. “We have all these things in line – games, high-speed trains are coming – and I think we need to make the most of it, because we will never have these opportunities again and this will be a golden decade. Opportunity for the city. “
More than a million tickets have been sold for the Games, which run from July 28 to August 8, and the hospitality industry is expected to benefit both indigenous fans and delegates from Commonwealth countries.
The ward, which is home to KPMG, Barclays and BT, wants to open and build offices in the business district of Snowhill, attracting more businesses and developers. The council is looking at a new Birmingham Health Innovation Campus for the health, medical and research business that will open next year.
The city has a population of over 1.1 million and a much smaller and more diverse population than the national average: 40 percent of its inhabitants are under 30 years of age. The local economy is supported by five universities and six large colleges.
Among the projects Ward is interested in seeing is a plan to set up a production studio in the Digbeth Creative Quarter to film Piki Blinder’s spin-off, a BBC drama set in the city, in Birmingham. Recent series have been filmed mainly in Manchester and Liverpool.
The council is also looking for an investment partner to develop 5,000 new homes and offices, leisure and community spaces in the Surface Car Park next to the National Exhibition Center, the largest conference center in Salihul. It is looking for development and investment partners to build hundreds of homes in Perry Bar, a suburb north of the city.
EY’s latest “attractiveness survey” ranked Birmingham third-highest outside London for foreign direct investment after Edinburgh and Manchester, down from second place the previous year.
The council plans to attract investment from representatives of Commonwealth countries, such as India and Canada, during the Games. It also hopes to secure internal investment for projects including the “Three Cities Recovery Initiative”.
Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton Councils met with Treasury and Department for Leveling Up officials later in the month in an effort to secure central government seed funding for their joint plan to make 165,000 social homes more energy efficient. If successful, they will then look for a private sector partner to set up a business that can make it cheaper for others in the West Midlands to improve their homes.
“The Commonwealth Games give us an opportunity to change the image of the city nationally and internationally,” Ward said.
“Those who have not been to Birmingham have a very old-fashioned view of the city. You’re in Birmingham now and it’s a modern, global city. “