Eastside Update: the new Milan

Philip Singleton is CEO at Millennium Point and Chairs the Eastside Forum. In a guest post for our blog, he takes a look at the changing face of Eastside.

Take a walk into Eastside now.  There’s more here and it’s a whole lot more civilised.  The most recent new things have arrived in the recession years and it’s one Quarter of the city which we can genuinely say has changed the most – and there’s more to come.

Millennium Point was the first significant thing in the whole area, then the absolutely herculean task of taking out the elevated road way and roundabout. All of this was 10 years ago.

In the last two years, Hotel La Tour has opened, Birmingham Ormiston Academy welcomed a new cohort of students, Aston University makes great strides in creating a campus and BCU is on track to open several relocated faculties in the Parkside building.  I would estimate that to be around £200m of new buildings.

Now, £12m is still quite a large stash of cash – but given that this amount was spread over a large area of Eastside, the new Eastside Park seems exceptional value.  Seeing this completely open, democratic space is a great thing.  Parks and civic spaces, when well thought through and cared for, have such a civilising effect.  In my view, Eastside really did need such a space and we should be hugely thankful Birmingham City Council has delivered it.  The ripple effect is happening right now – we have new owners of the Christopher Wray building, The Woodman pub is opening this summer and Curzon Street Station is being thought about again.

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At Millennium Point, we have firmed up our plans for the second decade. We will be launching our new brand in June and setting out what we will be doing in the future.  Our aim is to make the place more exciting and bring in the unexpected.

In just a few weeks time Birmingham Made Me – the expo of the city region’s creativity, design and products will be celebrated, talked about and written about for two weeks.  It will be hosted at Millennium Point.  This really will make this place talked about because we think Birmingham can be the new Milan.

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