Brindleyplace   May 07.2016


Brindleyplace comprises an architectural delight of landmark mixed use buildings built around three attractive public squares – Brunswick, Central and Oozells. Alongside this the estate includes The Water's Edge, The Crescent Theatre, National SEA LIFE Centre and is positioned adjacent to Birmingham's first city centre residential development, Symphony Court.The area now occupied by Brindleyplace was, at the height of Birmingham's industrial past, the site of factories. By the 1970's, however, as Britain's manufacturing went into decline, the factories closed down and the buildings lay derelict for many years. Read on to find out how the once derelict land was transformed into a popular leisure and business estate.Developers were invited by Birmingham City Council to draw up a blueprint for the vacant 26 acres of land adjacent to the International Convention Centre (ICC). The site was leased to a consortium of three companies; Merlin, Shearwater and Laing (MSL) who planned to create a 'huge leisure and entertainment area'.

Reason to Be Selected

The MasterplanMSL paid £23 million for the development rights; much of which was used to build the National Indoor Arena (NIA). 

Their proposal was for a £200 million development which included the NIA, a visitor led Festival Market and National Aquarium.September 1989 – 'Go For Big Broad Street Plan'This slogan made headlines when the development finally received planning permission. The plan also included 600,000 sq ft of office space to help transform the Broad Street area into a commercial and leisure development.


The project is located in Birmingham, the second largest city in the UK, and is a transformation of the former industrial area Brindleyplace in the region. The project was very successful and won the local Business Landscape Awards, creating an active and up-to-date business community in the heart of Birmingham. The project was completed by the famous landscape design team townshendla, who designed several open spaces and beautified the surrounding streets, eventually winning the award in a design competition targeting the industrial area. Located in the heart of Birmingham, the site has three main open plazas, each with its own character, reflecting a different atmosphere and style. It is reported that this is the design team to get inspiration from the surrounding natural landscape. The completion of the plaza is part of the public area of ​​the city, linking Brindleyplace to other areas of Birmingham. The surrounding Oozells Square is connected to the local icon gallery, different parts of the Brindleyplace industrial area, and a large number of restaurants. The cherry trees are planted around the square. When the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, they are fragrant and popular with tourists.

July 1990

Merlin pulled out of the scheme due to fears about the property slump and the project was taken over by Shearwater's parent company, Rosehaugh, which subsequently set up BrindleyplacePlc as a subsidiary company to oversee the development. 

The New Scheme

Rosehaugh re-looked at the masterplan for the development and working with Birmingham City Council drew up a new scheme. The Festival Marketplace was said to be unfundable.

December 1991 – 'Exciting proposals for a high quality, mixed use development'

By December 1991 another plan was submitted for approval based on the revised masterplan and including a fifth public square.

Buzzing Atmosphere

The development included 19 restaurants, shops and bars in Birmingham's first ever purpose designed leisure venue overlooking the canals. The development proposals also contained 120 new homes to encourage more people to live in the city, rather than outside of it (this would become Symphony Court). There was 1,100,000 sq ft of offices, which would create 6,000 jobs. The leisure element was not absolutely certain but possible options at the time were Science of Sport, anImax Cinema, bowling alley. The existing Crescent Theatre was also to be rebuilt on Brindleyplace.

July 1992

Outline planning permission was gained. This meant that the scheme would be implemented in phases and, led by market demand, employ 6,000 people on completion. It wasn't all plain sailing…The obstacles had not only been financial, but ecological! In the recession, progress had been slow and Ecologists discovered that the site was home to a very rare Black Redstart; a bird which is a protected species. Work could not begin until the birds migrated.

November 1992 

Rosehaugh's shares were suspended at 7.5p where they had once traded at 925p. The company's debts were reported to be at £350 million. After an anxious wait Brindleyplace was declared to be safe and Brindleyplaceplc continued its work.

June 1993

Argent Group Plc, a privately owned UK property company, purchased Brindleyplace for an undisclosed sum.




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