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£200M Beorma Quarter Plan Resurfaces. Is It For Real This Time?

A view from Digbeth of Birmingham city centre

The ambitious 630K SF Beorma Quarter development in Birmingham could be about to awaken after another long, deep sleep.

The project, whose centrepiece tower secured planning permission in 2012 but has made little progress since, has reappeared on Birmingham City Council’s forward plan after a two-year absence.

The forward plan referred to a report of the council’s director of planning, transport and sustainability intending “to seek approval to facilitate the purchase of outstanding interests in Digbeth High Street and Allison Street Birmingham to enable the comprehensive redevelopment of the Beorma Quarter”.

The entry said that progress on a compulsory purchase order would be reported to the council’s ruling cabinet in March. The CPO was first unveiled in 2020. 

However, the champagne should be kept firmly on ice: No such report was presented to the cabinet in March, nor in April.

The sluggish pace of development is nothing new. After a first phase of offices and a hotel in 2009, progress turned glacial. Salhia Investments, the Kuwaiti business controlling the site through its subsidiary — Jersey-based Salhia International Investments Ltd, which owns another company called Ingleby (1733) Ltd — lists a start date “towards the end of 2010” on its website.

In April 2021 it was reported that a dispute over the 2.3-acre plot between Ingleby and other landowners had slowed site assembly. Lengthy negotiations had failed to reach an agreement over a charity’s premises in Moat Lane. A Polish supermarket was also still holding out.

If it happens, the £200M project will transform one of Birmingham’s most conspicuous locations. It backs onto the Selfridges and Bullring schemes in Digbeth, and could include a 27-storey tower.

The plan was later revised to increase the tower to 30 storeys and include 200K SF of offices.

Talk about compulsory purchase surfaced in 2020 before vanishing again.

Salhia was contacted for comment, as was Birmingham City Council.