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BBC Tunes Into Digbeth, But Its Choice Comes As A Surprise


The BBC has chosen Digbeth for its new Birmingham base — but has turned its back on three of the most prominent area developments.

BBC's choice of the 3-acre former Typhoo Tea factory comes as something of a surprise. It had been assumed that if Digbeth was the chosen location, Nikal’s 30-acre Mercian Studios site, Oval Real Estate’s 42-acre Custard Factory estate or  Lendlease's 40-acre Smithfield site would attract the broadcaster’s eye.

The new studio base in the Midlands will be operational from 2026 and anchor a creative quarter that has been decades in the planning. The decision means the BBC will relocate from The Mailbox in Birmingham, where it occupies 100K SF with a lease expiry in 2026.

The 158K SF tea factory, built in 1894, sits at the centre of the plot at the junction of Bordesley Street and New Canal Street, and close to the projected HS2 high-speed train terminus at Curzon Street.

In 2017, it was announced that Gooch Estate was working with developer Stoford on plans for a wider 10-acre Typhoo Wharf site around the factory. The £200M development could yield up to 1M SF of new floorspace.

Birmingham City Council described the Stoford development as the focus of a creative industries and technology hub.

The BBC invited developers to bid in January 2022. It said the new centre will cost less to run than The Mailbox site.