It has long been established that Birmingham has the makings of an urban heavyweight (the city boasts more canals than Venice, you know), but its transition from second city to standalone destination is now truly in motion, writes Laura Rogers.
Of course, as FSC are proud residents of Birmingham (along with our London office), we may be dismissed as slightly biased. But, there is absolute reason for our passion and we are not alone in recognising that Birmingham is having more than just a ‘moment’; it’s a city enjoying an extraordinary period of change, attracting significant investment and publicity.
So here are just some of the top reasons why Birmingham is a current – and future – place to be:
Business Birmingham is overseeing a vast 20-year plan to transform the city. An integral part of this is the development of Paradise Birmingham – a mixed-use development that includes commercial, civic, retail, leisure and hotel space. The new complex is set to create an estimated 12,000 jobs, injecting a welcomed boost into the both the regeneration and economic health of the city.
Birmingham’s star shone on the global stage as we were confirmed as 2022 Commonwealth Games hosts. The event is predicted to boost the West Midlands economy by approximately £750 million. The Games will be a national showcase of course, but with Birmingham front and centre, the city can expect to benefit fully from new investment opportunities and world media exposure.
Food, Glorious Food
Fortunately for us foodies at FSC, the restaurant and bar scene in Birmingham is very much enjoying a boom. The number of restaurants and cafes in the city continues to rise, with Birmingham now boasting over a third more eateries than it did in 2012.
And, it is very much about quality of food as well as quantity when it comes to our city eats – Birmingham is earning itself a reputation for fine fare, offering everything from high-end Michelin Star dining, street food feasts a la the Digbeth Dining Club, and, of course, we are renowned for our curries.
Established brands are also joining Birmingham’s ever growing social scene – from The Ivy (which has just opened) Be At One’s second residence at Brindley Place to Dirty Martini taking on a city centre site. We are certainly not short of options when it comes to wining and dining.
We feel the need…the need for speed!
HS2 is coming. Birmingham is about to become more accessible than ever, with the high-speed train network linking the capital via a very commutable, rumoured journey time of 40 minutes. Partnered with an increased demand for property in the area, be it from those re-locating from London or the ever-growing student population, Birmingham is expecting a real residential boom over the next five years.
Brum means Business
HSBC was amongst the first of the big businesses to make the move from London to Birmingham, and broadcaster Channel 4 is currently being touted to do the same. Whilst the larger companies mean job creation and relocations a plenty, there is also significant support and encouragement from the government for SME businesses and new startups that are looking to build business in Birmingham.
Lights, Camera, Action!
Steven Knight, creator and writer of mammoth TV hit ‘Peaky Blinders’, has predicted that Birmingham is on the cusp of a ‘creative renaissance’. The series, which showcases Birmingham’s gang-land past, has enjoyed worldwide success and spotlighted the cities artistic potential. In an interview with HuffpostUK, Steven describes his new West Midlands studio plans, declaring that “Birmingham will be the calling card for a lot of American studios”.
Similarly, Birmingham features heavily (albeit unrecognisably) in Steven Spielberg’s latest blockbuster Ready Player One. The famed director was on location shooting the movie last year, just outside of FSC’s Birmingham offices.
We are a ‘Tourism Hotspot’ – for real!
Maybe this ode to Birmingham is simply us preaching to the choir! The city’s tourism sector experienced its most successful year in history last year; visitor numbers, visitor spend and hotel revenue were at an all-time high for 2017.
Figures released by the West Midlands Growth Company and research body Global Tourism Solutions (GTS) showed that Birmingham welcomed 41.8 million visitors across the course of the year, with subsequent visitor spend reaching £7.1 billion. Looking ahead, Tourism Minister Michael Ellis, commented: “Birmingham is one the UK’s leading destinations, with excellent attractions, nightlife and hospitality. Following the hugely successful Commonwealth Games handover and the arrival of Dippy the Diplodocus, this positive tourism trend looks set to continue well into the future.”
So if you have yet to visit us here in the Midlands, we wholly recommend you follow in Dippy’s fossilised footsteps and ensure you make a trip to Birmingham in the near future!