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Lendlease Takes First Step On £1.9B Birmingham Adventure


Every journey starts with a single step. This week, with an architectural team now in place, the five-year effort to redevelop Birmingham’s 40-acre Smithfield site has begun.

Team is the right word. Working alongside masterplanners Prior+Partners and David Kohn Architects — who won an international design competition for the markets area of the Smithfield project — will be London-based dRMM (“radical makers of sustainable, socially useful architecture”) and Intervention Architecture, Haworth Tompkins and Minesh Patel Architects London-based  RCKa ( ”socially responsive” ) and Birmingham-based Intervention Architecture (a “highly inquisitive design studio” according to its website). 

Birmingham-based Eastside Projects is also working in partnership with the teams, and it is talking to market traders and customers to help inform designs for the new market. 

Together they will work up detailed proposals for the £1.9B mixed-use development, with consultation on a masterplan due to begin next month.

Following consultation with the local community, a planning application for the masterplan and Phase 1 will be submitted to Birmingham City Council.

“Our chosen team of architects brings a fantastic blend of creativity, local talent and experience, alongside a clear commitment to sustainability,” Lendlease Development Director James Amos said. 

The development progress is likely to be protracted, with some parts of the mixed-use scheme unlikely to see action until 2027, likely as part of a phased development perhaps involving other funding partners.

An official presentation to a Birmingham City Council committee late last year suggested the existing Bull Ring Markets, which occupy a key portion of the site, could be in operation for some time to come. The document points to a consultation with market traders to “renegotiate lease terms to facilitate vacant possession in 2027.”

In the meantime the site will be handed over to the Commonwealth Games organising committee for much of 2022 to allow beach volleyball and 3x3 basketball tournaments to take place.

The formal agreement between Lendlease and Birmingham City Council to develop the site was agreed in June 2021. The scheme provides for 2,900 new homes, 1.4M SF of new office and leisure space, and a new 265K SF market.