BBC signs deal with developer for new Birmingham broadcast centre

BBC signs deal with developer for new Birmingham broadcast centre

The BBC will move its current Birmingham home in The Mailbox to the historic Typhoo Tea factory in Digbeth. 

The BBC has committed to signing a deal with the commercial property developer Stoford to deliver the 84,001 sq ft purpose-built broadcast centre, which will house a range of BBC editorial teams including BBC Asian Network, BBC Newsbeat, as well as BBC Radio WM and Midlands Today.

The transaction is the largest office pre-let in the city for the past three years, according to Stoford. 

Stoford is working with The Gooch Estate, Glenn Howells Architects, Turley and a number of public sector partners to deliver one of Birmingham’s first net zero carbon buildings in construction and to prepare a comprehensive vision around Typhoo Wharf and the wider area. 

The rebirth of the former Typhoo building is the latest highlight of an excitin­g process of city-wide regeneration, building on the Commonwealth Games and HS2 as part of a “golden decade” for Birmingham, which is seeing the city transformed into a greener, healthier and even more attractive place to live and do business. 

The scheme will also benefit from a new tram stop and is just a couple of hundred metres from the planned HS2 Curzon Street terminus. 

Gerard Ludlow, Director at Stoford, said it was working with the BBC to deliver a building that will be a new benchmark for sustainability in Birmingham. 

The building, which fronts Bordesley Street, is also on target to achieve a BREEAM rating of ‘outstanding’, an energy performance certificate (EPC) of ‘A’, a ‘gold’ WELL Core score, and three-star Fitwel healthy building certification. 

“The BBC will be the centerpiece of a transformative development in Digbeth and its 20-year lease commitment will help to drive much-needed further private sector investment in the Digbeth area,” said Gerard. 

“Crucially, we will be respecting the history of the site by conserving the distinctive character of the historic building, while also creating a landmark modern development fit for a world-leading 21st century broadcaster. 

“This is a unique opportunity to take the bones of this former factory and create a truly vibrant building. We’re excited to be part of this important new development for Birmingham.” 

A public consultation on the scheme opens today (Tuesday, September 6) and should Birmingham City Council give it the go ahead, construction is expected to start on site in early 2023, ready for occupation by the BBC in 2026.  

The wider scheme will also see the transformation of more than 10 acres of underutilised land around the site, including new public spaces around Typhoo Wharf and the adjoining canal basin. Stoford plans to deliver up to 800,000 sq ft of new residential, office and hospitality accommodation over the next five to ten years. 

Grant Associates is designing the new landscape and urban realm for Typhoo Wharf, which will create a new canalside quarter centred on Birmingham’s historic canal network, waterfront and warehouse buildings. A new public square will be delivered in time for the opening of the BBC’s new Birmingham headquarters and in the longer term there will be opportunities for even better use of the space with cafe and bar terraces overlooking the canal. 

Sandeep Shambi, Partner at Glenn Howells Architects, said: “The announcement of the BBC’s move to the Typhoo building signifies an important change and reinforces Digbeth as the city’s emerging cultural epicentre.  

“The Typhoo Tea Factory will provide the BBC with an unrivalled location within minutes of HS2, flexibility to adapt and grow, and presents an opportunity to create a unique, sustainable workplace whilst reinvigorating a piece of Digbeth’s heritage.  

“The building itself dates back to 1929 and has been derelict for over 40 years. By opting for adaptative reuse over new build, we are bringing it back to life for the next 100 – not only to keep this historical legacy going, but to uphold the low carbon principles we all strive for.”  

A full pre-application public consultation on the scheme will run until Thursday, September 22, with further opportunities for the public to get involved as future outline and detailed applications are submitted for the wider area.