Birmingham Buildings

Eastside Development – City Centre/Aston

ThinkTank - Eastside, City Centre/Aston 26/05/06

ThinkTank - Eastside, City Centre/Aston 26/05/06

The Eastside development is a phased regeneration project aimed at revitalising a 420 acre tract of land immediately to the East of the City Centre, largely encompassed within a triangle formed by Curzon Street, Lawley Middleway and Jennens Lane at a cost of £6bn.

One of the first signs of the development, Millennium Point on Curzon Street which opened in 2001 and houses the Birmingham Science Museum amongst its ‘ThinkTank’ facilities, can be seen above. What is also interesting here is the great contrast between the old and the new: to the left of the shot is a derelict workshop on Grosvenor Street which sits quite uncomfortably next to the ‘space age’ stylings of Millennium Point.

The proposed redevelopment encompasses the old favourites of offices, bars & restaurants, open spaces/parks and ‘innovative centres of technology’, city apartments etc . . . Now, not wanting to appear at all curmudgeonly or standing in the way of ‘progress’ but there does seem to be an awful lot of the above list already in Birmingham, a fair proportion of it vacant, and the laudible outpourings of the Council that they are developing an ‘area of inclusion for local people . . . benefiting the local community etc . . .’ can be viewed with a more sceptical eye: the extent to which Brindley Place apartments, the shops of the Mailbox, and the million and one bars on Broad Street have benefited the people of Ladywood and its surroundings being a moot point.

However, that aside, the area once provided for a fascinating walk as it was an industrial ghost town with all the roads lined with a variety of Victorian industrial premises (and some more recent), which had been the subject of a mass compulsory purchase order and were all ‘Acquired by Advantage West Midlands’ – the Regional Development Agency.  To attest to that point I have posted a selection of photographs of the area below taken in 2006.

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