The £1.9 billion redevelopment of the former Smithfield wholesale markets in Birmingham city centre has taken a major step forward. The city council and Lendlease have finalised a joint venture for the redevelopment of the 42 acre site.
Home to HSBC and PwC amongst many others, Birmingham's Paradise development is considered big. It has played a huge part in attracting important financial and professional service firms to the city. However, by comparison, Smithfield is enormous.
The Smithfield wholesale market once occupied an important corner of the city centre. When the market moved to an out of town location it left behind 42 acres of unused land within - literally - a stone's throw of the glitzy new Bullring and New Street.
Over the coming years, it will be transformed into a world class mixed use development. It will become home to a new 'destination' market and open public spaces, a hotel, retail, leisure and offices, 3,000 homes and thousands of jobs. Connectivity will be improved by the Midlands Metro expansion currently under construction.
The opportunity for property investors lies to the immediate south. Bounded by the new development to the north and Chinatown to the west sits Southside. On its eastern edge is Digbeth's trendy tech-meets-creative-meets-nightlife district.
Until recently Southside was characterised by commercial premises long in decline. Designated an Area of Transformation by the city council, it has become a property hotspot. Developers are competing to acquire the best sites. According to major property services firms including JLL and Knight Frank this area is likely to see the largest property price increases in the city centre. Early investors are likely to see handsome returns.