Birmingham Science Park Aston (BSPA) is using the annual international MIPIM property conference held in Cannes, France to unveil its plans and timeframe to appoint a joint venture partner to deliver the £35 million Digital Plaza.
The Digital Plaza – which will, subject to planning, be developed next to the Park’s Faraday Wharf building – will comprise four state of the art buildings, specifically designed for the new generation of hi-tech companies. While the nature of the work in the hi-tech and digital gaming industry typically lends itself to people working from home, BSPA’s thriving mix of tenants strongly advocate that businesses can grow more effectively working from a specialist hub environment.
Cllr Mike Whitby, leader of Birmingham City Council and chairman of Birmingham Science Park Aston comments: “I am delighted to be announcing at MIPIM that we are commencing the process to deliver the proposed £35 million Digital Plaza. We will be using the conference as a platform to initiate conversations with national and international developers, contractors, investors and consultants. We then anticipate that formal proceedings to begin the selection process will commence, with a view to work potentially starting on site by late 2012/early 2013. This will be a highly exciting and progressive development for Birmingham’s burgeoning digital economy.”
Dr David Hardman MBE, CEO of Birmingham Science Park Aston said: “We are driving forward with our business strategy to make Birmingham Science Park Aston a world-leading science park, fit for 2020 and beyond. Many of our initiatives and partnerships do not rely on us developing new buildings, but we need to respond to our tenants’ needs and the considerable uptake in space here in the past 12 months. In order to remain competitive, we must create buildings which are specifically designed for companies in the hi-tech and digital gaming sectors and for the digitally savvy founders of these ventures. It is these knowledge-based businesses which have the potential for high growth and will be a key factor in driving our economy out of recession.”
The four proposed Digital Plaza buildings will provide a total gross area of 10,895 sq m (117,272 sq ft) of space, with the first building - iCentrumTM – being the largest at 4,280 sq m (46,069 sq ft). The draft proposals envisage four new buildings which are linked by a spectacular colonnade walkway on land fronting on to Holt Street.There are plans for two further buildings of 1,629 sq m (17,534 sq ft) and a fourth building offering 3,357 sq m (36,134 sq ft). These buildings are expected to appeal to larger companies as headquarters style facilities.
Over 37,000 sq ft of business space has been let across the 14 acre BSPA estate over the past 12 months. Faraday Wharf, which incorporates an extensive suite of meeting and conference rooms - as well as the Park’s nationally acclaimed Entrepreneurs for the Future (e4f) incubation centre – is now over 95 per cent let, with 17,684 sq ft of space let to Small to Medium sized Enterprises over the past 12 months.
BSPA’s tenants represent a cross-section of some of the UK’s most innovative sectors, producing creative and ground-breaking solutions for industry and the public sector. The Park’s strategy is to drive high-value employment and wealth creation by embracing the region’s enterprise culture, through providing a service that benefits both founders of new technology ventures and more established businesses.