Birmingham’s Curzon Wharf vision goes to planners

Birmingham’s Curzon Wharf vision, which includes Build to Rent and aims to create world’s first mixed-use net zero carbon development, goes to planners.

Woodbourne Group's Curzon Wharf mixed-use development which includes Build to Rent | BTR News
Woodbourne Group's Curzon Wharf mixed-use development, which includes Build to Rent.

A ground-breaking vision to create the world’s first mixed-use net zero carbon ready development – Curzon Wharf – in Birmingham, which includes a Build to Rent development, could take a huge step closer to becoming reality next week, when proposals go before city planners. The hybrid plans, brought forward by investment and development group Woodbourne Group, is being considered by the Birmingham City Council planning committee on Thursday 23 February.

Curzon Wharf has been the process of seven years of consultation with the local authority, public, and a world-class team of regeneration and built environment specialists. Planning officers have given the proposals a positive recommendation for approval.

“Birmingham is now at a turning point and our generation has the opportunity to transform the city into one of the most sustainable and leading cities in the world. The support received by Curzon Wharf is a reflection of that. It has taken us years of hard work to get here, and I hope the committee supports these unique proposals.

“This isn’t just another development, it’s a manifesto that will position Birmingham as the UK’s leading smart and sustainable city – as demonstrated by the highly successful eco-friendly delivery of the Commonwealth Games – helping to pave the way for the country’s Green Revolution. 

“It will act as a catalyst for the wider transformation of the Eastside area where a number of masterplans have been earmarked which otherwise would not be possible. It signposts Birmingham’s route to delivering transformational change to the city, promoting social, cultural and economic exchange in a truly transformative urban neighbourhood.”

Tani Dulay, Chief Executive, Woodbourne Group

The 993,046 sq ft site is currently occupied by graffiti-laden industrial units constructed in the 1960s. The new scheme will deliver new residential buildings including Birmingham’s tallest tower, shops, offices, and research and development and life sciences facilities.

The mixed-use scheme will deliver multiple towers. A 53 storey Build to Rent development – the tallest in Birmingham, standing at 172 metres (564 feet) will deliver 498 new homes. A 41-storey purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) tower will deliver homes for 732 students. A 14 storeys middle tower with deliver up to 122 residential homes. Luxury and leading student and Build to Rent operators for the buildings have been secured.

Curzon Wharf plaza | BTR News
Curzon Wharf plaza.

The Curzon Wharf development will also include nearly 130,000 sq ft of office, R&D and life science space, over 3,000 sq ft of retail units, over 15,000 sq ft of leisure space, over 76,424 sq ft of new and improved public realm and 490 metres of new and improved walking and cycling routes through the site. 

“This exciting project will put Birmingham right at the forefront of green, sustainable development and underlines our determination to tackle the climate crisis, while also creating jobs and opportunities for people across the city. Birmingham has the ambition and vision to become a more resilient, sustainable, and inclusive city and Curzon Wharf shows our determination to turn vision into reality.”

Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr Ian Ward

The Curzon Wharf site is positioned on the northern entry to Birmingham on the A38 Aston Expressway just south of Dartmouth Circus – a site passed by as many as 21 million road users a year when entering the city centre from the north. It is also an eight-minute walk to the HS2 Curzon Street Station, which is expected to boost Birmingham’s economy by at least £151m. 

If planning is approved, the Curzon Wharf waterfront ecosystem will be developed in a key quarter of Birmingham city centre. The scheme would also generate over 1,000 jobs, as calculated by planning specialists Turley and CBRE, who have also calculated that the scheme would add £2m a year in council tax and business rates and attract a New Homes Bonus of £4m.

“This is an incredibly exciting plan, with the potential to create more than 1,000 jobs at what will be a critical time for our region’s economy as we recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is brilliant to see how innovative the masterplan is, not only through being net-zero and contributing towards our #WM2041 goal, but also with the life sciences element which will help create a number of high-skilled, well-paid jobs in a key industry of the future, building on the recent investment at the life sciences site in Selly Oak.”  

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street

Curzon Wharf has been welcomed by senior civic leaders, key figures and businesses from Birmingham. These include West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, Leader of Birmingham City Council Cllr Ian Ward, Neil Rami, Chief Executive of the West Midlands Growth Company, Andy Wilkinson, Chair of the Institute of Directors, Preet Gill MP, and the Knowledge Quarter Alliance which includes Aston University, Birmingham City University, Bruntwood, Millennium Point, Unite Union, HS2, Birmingham Ormiston Academy and Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.