Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone is to receive a £15 million cash injection to provide grants and loans to developers looking to access finance for new projects.
The Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone consists of 26 sites around the city which have the potential over the next 25 years to deliver 1.3 million square metres of development and create thousands of jobs within the financial services, digital media and creative industries.
In July 2012, Birmingham City Council approved a £128 million investment plan to kickstart the Zone with specific allocations for the redevelopment of Paradise Circus and the extension of the Midland Metro. Included in the plan was £15 million for a site development and access fund.
The fund has now secured the backing of Birmingham City Council’s cabinet and it is hoped this will build on the progress with the Zone, which is forecast to create 2,500 by 2015 with a number of key developments already under way.
Cllr Tahir Ali, cabinet member for development, jobs and skills, said:
“Birmingham quite rightly has a reputation as a city of enterprise and innovation, offering opportunities for business and employment.
“We’re committed to promoting economic growth but to do this we need to do all we can to help businesses overcome some of the barriers to finance which will in turn encourage private sector investment and generate additional business rates.”
Chris Webster, board director of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership with responsibility for the Enterprise Zone, said:
“Already at sites including Arena Central, the Beorma Quarter and at Snow Hill we can see tangible progress being made with the EZ as well as important projects in the pipeline.
“But we realise there are sites that may require support to get them off the ground given the challenges we know developers face in getting finance.
“In quite a short space of time, we hope to be able to get this work up and running so that we can see further progress before very long.”
Expressions of interest for grants managed by the city council and loans by Finance Birmingham will now be invited.
The access fund will contribute to the overall Zone by helping to increase commercial space, attracting inward investment and creating new job opportunities.