Birmingham Road Unclosed

A private road in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter is to be permanently opened to the public after more than 20 years. 

 

Part of Northwood Street, which runs from Caroline Street to Vittoria Street, is owned by AE Harris. The 100m stretch was partially closed to serve the engineering firm’s factory buildings.

 

The four-acre AE Harris site has been acquired by joint venture partners Galliard Homes and Apsley House Capital. The joint venture team is planning a £125million mixed-use scheme of more than 320 new apartments and circa 100,000 sq ft of commercial space.

 

Images of the new-look Northwood Street show ground floor restaurant, bar and retail space along the length of the currently sealed street, with apartments – including lofts and duplexes – above. Affordable workspace is also planned, to address demand from local craft businesses and artisans.

 

The design of scheme takes inspiration from the Conservation Area in which it is situated.

Northwood Street will boast a number of signature buildings, including Grade II listed 109 Northwood Street. According to Historic England, the building is of “international significance”, with “highly distinctive architectural detailing.” It will be restored to its former glory and used as office space.

 

The developers have also elected to retain 123 and 128 Northwood Street. Although not listed, both have architectural merit and will be incorporated within the new scheme.

 

A new 7,000 sq ft building on the corner of Northwood Street and James Street is earmarked wholly for leisure space. A boutique cinema is among the uses being mooted.

 

A second public route will also be created through the site. A new pedestrian boulevard,

from Newhall Street to Regent Place, will create direct access from Birmingham city centre right in to the heart of the Jewellery Quarter.

 

Robin Norstrom, director at Aspley House Capital, said: “To give it some scale, the AE Harris site is bigger than the whole of St Paul’s Square, so it has huge potential. When we first looked at it we were particularly excited by the opportunity to re-open Northwood Street and create a brand new through route from Newhall Street, making the Jewellery Quarter so much more accessible.

 

“There a number of beautiful buildings along the closed section of Northwood St, the listed 109 in particular. We can’t wait to open the gates and give this street back to the community.”

 

The JV team is keen to ensure that the new street frontages are active, with businesses spilling out into ‘al fresco’ space.

 

Adam Ratzker, commercial director at Galliard Homes, said: “We’ll be looking to accommodate business start-ups, craft workers and, of course, jewellers. We’re aware that there is pent up demand for smaller, affordable workspace units – on flexible terms – from existing businesses in the Jewellery Quarter. We will make it a priority to address this need.

 

“We also want to add to the amenity offer in the Jewellery Quarter, for businesses, residents and visitors, by supporting local independent operators and artisans rather than replicating what is on offer elsewhere in the city. We will do this sensitively, preserving the area’s unique charm, and encourage the local business and retail community to contact us soon, before the final mix is agreed.”

 

The scheme, called St Paul’s Quarter, is bounded by Newhall Street, Graham Street, Brook Street, James Street and Northwood Street. Master-planned and designed by award-winning architects Glenn Howells, the development will comprise 20 individual buildings of between two and five storeys.

 

Galliard and Apsley’s proposals are subject to planning permission from Birmingham City Council. A green light will lead to the creation of more than 500 jobs, including construction posts and jobs in the food, beverage, retail and office sector. The scheme is expected to take five years to complete.