Another Chinese boost for Birmingham housing

Brownfield site to provide hundreds of new homes.

City Council leader John Clancy’s recent trade mission to Hong Kong and China has resulted in a second major housing boost for Birmingham.

A consortium of investors from Hong Kong and Macau is to fund a £55 million scheme with the construction of a minimum of 214 apartments on a brownfield site at 21 William Street, off Broad Street, in Ladywood. The development site, known as Cedar House, comprises a former data centre which is surplus to the council’s needs.

Cllr Clancy met with the investors during a trip to Hong Kong, China and Singapore in September this year where he outlined Birmingham’s open approach to Asian investment, particularly residential development in the city.

The council leader’s visit has already resulted in a £2 billion agreement with Chinese property development company Country Garden to deliver significant new housing stock in Birmingham and the surrounding area.Now the William Street deal further enhances Birmingham’s growing links with China – in the last five years, the city has secured more Chinese investment projects that any other regional city with 23 investments safeguarding over 1,400 jobs.

Cllr Clancy said: “This is excellent news and demonstrates that Birmingham is open for business in a challenging post-Brexit landscape. Coming on top of the £2 billion agreement with Country Garden to deliver much-needed homes for our citizens, this is proof that Birmingham can attract global investors.

“There’s a housing crisis in this country and Birmingham is no exception. We need more affordable homes, we need more social housing, and we need to give people hope. There can be no one size fits all solution to the housing shortage, but we can make plenty of progress by identifying and pushing ahead with brownfield city centre sites like William Street.

“In the past month we have announced plans to build almost 1,000 apartments in Digbeth, at the Connaught Square development, and unveiled proposals for the £400 million Greater Icknield and Smethwick Housing Growth Prospectus which will deliver 5,000 new homes.”

Waheed Nazir, Strategic Director for the Economy at Birmingham City Council, added: “Birmingham has an ambitious growth agenda. We are planning for a significant number of new homes to meet the needs of our growing population and support the growth of our economy.

“New investment is hugely important to this growth agenda. Announcements like this, together with the recent launch of a £724 million investment plan to maximise the benefits of HS2, demonstrate that confidence in the city is high. The delivery of new homes, quality of life and employment opportunities will continue to see Birmingham as an attractive place to invest.”

Mr John Gunning of the consortium said: “We were impressed by Cllr Clancy’s vision and passion for housing when we met him in Hong Kong and are delighted to be investing in homes for Birmingham.”

Top Capital Group will act as the funder and ultimate owner of the site through the establishment of William Street Investment Co, which will buy a long lease on the land, generating a capital receipt for the council.