02 February 2024

Stoford starts work on BBC’s new Digbeth home

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Work has started on transforming the former Typhoo Tea factory in Digbeth into the BBC’s new Birmingham home.

Stoford, the leading developer behind the new landmark 84,001 sq ft custom-built broadcast centre to be called The Tea Factory, located on Bordesley Street, marked the occasion with a start on site launch event, which was attended by Tim Davie, Director General of the BBC, as well as Hayley Valentine, BBC Head of Midlands; Councillor John Cotton, Leader of Birmingham City Council; Neil Dobson, Director, Aviva Investors; Andy Street, the West Midlands Mayor; Dave Hartley and Alan Bell of BAM.

Gerard Ludlow, Stoford Director, said: “After months of planning and preparing the site, it’s exciting to start work on revitalising this historic building and, in time, working with our partner The Gooch Estate, we will bring forward a much larger mixed-use scheme known as Typhoo Wharf which sits around the wider area adjacent to the Bordesley Street landmark.

“With our strategic partners, we have created an exciting blueprint that will provide a stunning home for the BBC, which will be the corporation’s most sustainable and flexible centre yet. Over the next three years, as work progresses, anyone visiting Digbeth will be able to see the scheme unfolding.”

When it completes in 2026, the custom-built scheme, which is located next to Digbeth Loc Studios, will house several BBC editorial teams, including The Archers, BBC Asian Network, BBC Newsbeat, BBC Radio WM and Midlands Today.

Stoford is committed to retaining the historic legacy of the almost 100-year-old factory but also delivering a pioneering scheme using low carbon principles. The reuse of the original iconic 1930's building will be the heart of the Typhoo Wharf scheme and is on target to achieve a BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ and EPC ‘A’ rating.

BAM is the appointed contractor to deliver the scheme, which is majority-funded by Aviva Investors on behalf of its Lime Property Fund, with a grant from Birmingham City Council.

Neil Dobson, Director, Real Estate, at Aviva Investors, said: “As one of the largest investors in UK real estate, we are really pleased to contribute towards the development of this scheme, revitalising an area of underutilised land in the city and with the potential to add significant social value to the local economy through job creation and local business opportunities. We look forward to working with our partners in bringing the project to life as an enviable flagship site, whilst reflecting our focus on high-quality, sustainable and low carbon real estate.”

Tim Davie, BBC Director-General, said: “This is a significant step, not just for the BBC, but for invigorating the wider creative industries in the Midlands. We are transforming The Tea Factory into a world-class state of the art production facility which will benefit the region for generations to come.

“Digbeth will deliver world-class programmes, be a centre for excellence and bring investment and new opportunities to one of the most vibrant parts of the country.”

Birmingham City Council leader Cllr John Cotton said: "The council has worked closely with the BBC, Stoford and The Gooch Estate, providing vital funding through the Enterprise Zone, to get this exciting project to this stage and I'm delighted that building work is now underway.

"The Tea Factory will further cement Digbeth's growing reputation as a hub for media and creativity and the rebirth of this historic site will be a catalyst for the wider regeneration and development, creating jobs and opportunities for the people of Birmingham."

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “This latest announcement marks a major step forward in the wider story of the resurgence of the creative industries in the West Midlands. The Tea Factory - set to be the BBC’s new home in Birmingham - has been years in the making and the spades now in the ground will help supercharge the regeneration already underway in Digbeth.”  

Over the next decade, Stoford plans to deliver up to 800,000 sq ft of new residential, office and hospitality accommodation around the new BBC building. The wider scheme will see more than 10 acres of underutilised land around Typhoo Wharf and the adjoining canal basin transformed into a new mixed-use neighbourhood characterised by attractive public spaces and open thoroughfares.  

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.

For more information about Typhoo Wharf, visit: www.typhoowharf.co.uk  

CAPTION: (l-r) Councillor John Cotton, Leader of Birmingham City Council; Hayley Valentine, BBC Head of Midlands; Dave Hartley, Project Manager, BAM Construction; Tim Davie, Director General of the BBC; Andy Street, the West Midlands Mayor; Matt Burgin, Joint Managing Director, Stoford; Neil Dobson, Director, Aviva Investors; Alan Bell, Construction Director, BAM Construction.

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