Kuwaiti investment highlights central Birmingham hotspot

 
Kuwaiti investment highlights central Birmingham hotspot (iStock)

At a time when Brexit has placed question marks over commercial investment and the levels of construction in this sector are low, it may be worth noting just where the safest bets around the UK are.

Central Birmingham has clearly been identified by Kuwaiti firm Salhia Investments as one of them, due to factors such as the upcoming arrival of HS2 and the government's focus on developing the 'Midlands Engine' around the city and its surrounding towns. It has announced that construction work on the much delayed second and third phases of the Beorma project in Digbeth are set to go ahead this year. 
 
Beorma - named after the original Saxon village from which the city takes its name - is a 2.5-acre site for which investment plans of one kind or another have existed since the mid-2000s. The recession curtailed some early ideas before planning permission was granted to develop the site in 2009, but to date only the £18 million phase one has been completed. 

The £140 million commitment by Salhia comes after planned starts in 2016 and last year never happened, but the firm is confident about the project, even though the centrepiece is a 30-storey office tower that will be the tallest non-residential skyscraper in Birmingham. 

Salhia is already negotiating with potential occupants for the building, which is bucking the trend for investors to hold back from major projects while the Brexit process plays out. 

Explaining the optimism that underpins the project, deputy chief executive officer of Salhia Abdulaziz Al-Nafisi said: "With a focus on Birmingham because of HS2 and the Midlands Engine, we think the development will be a great addition to the city and further boost the local economy in the Digbeth district."
 
HS2 is not the only transport development that is helping underpin the Midlands Engine. Just as the 'Northern Powerhouse' project has seen new rail and tram developments in Manchester, so the Midlands Metro is being expanded across Birmingham. 

The HS2 station at Curzon Street will be among the future locations linked to the system, which already serves Snow Hill and New Street stations in the city centre and is currently being extended westwards into Edgbaston.