New homes, including those for key workers, and a purpose-built premises for one of the longest established firms in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter are set to be built thanks to a £6 million funding deal from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP).
The investment will enable work to begin on-site in the spring to replace the existing 1960s building in Tenby Street that is home to Charles Green & Son, a family-run business established in 1824.
A modern manufacturing studio will be built for the company along with 37 one- and two-bedroom apartments, and other commercial space.
Without this critical investment by the WMCA the scheme could not have proceeded.
L/r, Richard Mees, managing director of Rainier Developments Limited, Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands Mayor and Tim Pile, chairman of GBSLEP at the premises of Charles Green & Son in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter. The site will be redeveloped with a new studio for the firm and 37 new apartments
The WMCA has made a series of such investments throughout the pandemic as part of a massive, region-wide urban renewal programme to help unlock stalled brownfield sites for new homes and jobs and drive a green economic recovery from Covid-19.
A minimum of 20% of the homes will be classed as affordable under the WMCA’s regional definition of affordability, which is linked to real world local wages rather than property prices.
Henley-in-Arden-based Rainier Developments Limited is leading the redevelopment with the WMCA providing a £5.3million loan through Frontier Development Capital Ltd (FDC), a fund manager working closely with property developers to arrange investments from the WMCA’s Collective Investment Fund (CIF) and Revolving Investment Fund (RIF).
A further £720,000 of grant funding has been provided by the GBSLEP.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, added: “This is the latest example of how the WMCA has continued to invest tens of millions of pounds throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to provide market confidence and regenerate brownfield land for new homes and jobs.
“It’s also fantastic that the WMCA and GBSLEP have been able to step in and work with Rainier to keep this historic family business where it belongs – in the Jewellery Quarter.
“Firms like Charles Green are what makes Birmingham and the wider West Midlands tick. They are a wonderful example of our region’s craftsmanship and enterprise and we cannot afford to lose that heritage. It will be the small and medium-sized businesses like Charles Green that will be the backbone on which our economic recovery from Covid-19 will be built.”
Richard Mees, managing director at Rainier Developments Limited, said: “We have enjoyed working closely with our partners at both the WMCA and GBSLEP to ensure this exciting scheme can be delivered and are grateful for their backing and ongoing support.
“The development will make an important contribution to the growth, development, and heritage of the Jewellery Quarter.
“Not only will we deliver new homes on a brownfield site, including affordable homes for key workers, we are also helping to secure the future of Charles Green & Son. The business has been based in the Jewellery Quarter for nearly 200 years and with new, affordable workspace, the business can remain there for many years to come.”
Tim Pile, chairman of GBSLEP, said: “Our £9 million Unlocking Stalled Housing Sites Programme was specifically designed to support our region’s developers to transform brownfield sites, which may have otherwise been underutilised, into high-quality new communities. Increasing the rate of housing delivery across the GBSLEP area is essential for the economic recovery and growth of our region as well as ensuring our residents have access to a variety of housing.
“This new development will provide exceptional accommodation in one of the city’s most sought after residential areas, while allowing a manufacturer which has been part of Birmingham’s economic fabric for almost 200 years to continue their work here. It is an exciting project, which we are looking forward to seeing come to fruition over the coming months.”
Cllr Mike Bird, WMCA portfolio holder for housing and land and leader of Walsall Council, added: “The last few months have been tough but we are working hard by investing in regeneration schemes like this one to ensure we rebuild from this pandemic stronger than ever – getting our local economy back on track.
“This scheme is another wonderful example of how the West Midlands is leading the UK on brownfield regeneration, breathing new life into former industrial sites to deliver jobs and homes for local people and drive new business opportunities and prosperity for the region.
“Our brownfield first approach is also protecting our precious Green Belt, helping to make our economic recovery from Covid greener and fairer.”