Vision for NEC City could create 10,000 jobs

Plans to create 10,000 jobs by transforming the NEC campus into “nec•city” have been unveiled.

The masterplan for the site comes alongside neighbouring Birmingham Airport’s own 15-year strategy, which sets out plans for 40% passenger growth on the back of £500m investment.

The NEC’s own ambitions are supported by its new owners Blackstone, which completed an £800m deal for the live entertainment business last month.

It has identified the potential to redevelop 75 hectares of brownfield land, creating 315,000 sq metres of new floorspace, 10,000 new jobs, and up to 2,000 apartments.

NEC Group chief executive Paul Thandi said they have “ambitious plans to develop our business further”.

He said: “The Masterplan is an important element of that expansion and builds on the excellent progress we have made over the last few years towards creating a truly world-class business, entertainment and leisure destination.”

The NEC campus is currently attracts 7m visitors a year to the NEC, Genting Arena and Resorts World Birmingham. The Bear Grylls Adventure opened on the site last month to boost its leisure destination credentials.

A 224-bedroom Moxy Hotel is under construction and due to open mid-2019.

Development of the masterplan would be “phased over a number of years”, in response to market conditions, with it highlighting “the impact of HS2” as a key factor. A nearby HS2 station, Birmingham Interchange, is scheduled to be completed in 2026.

It said that early phases of the development over the next five years could include the Film Studio, initial phases of residential development and infrastructure improvements including the realignment of Pendigo Way to release development opportunities.

Waheed Nazir, corporate director economy at Birmingham City Council, which is the landowner, said: “The NEC campus is a unique development opportunity which can accommodate significant commercial, residential and leisure uses that will complement our ambitious plans in Birmingham City Centre at Curzon and Birmingham Smithfield.”

The NEC Group’s vision is to create “an internationally unique destination with global appeal that fuses entertainment, leisure, exhibition space, commercial and residential offers across a 175-hectare campus”.

It wants to strength the offer of the NEC as a global exhibition centre, through the addition of “an iconic hotel” and more hospitality and leisure.

An entertainment zone would bring in more “experiential leisure opportunities” alongside a potential film and television production facility.

It has plans to build a residential community at Lakeside, expanding on the existing Arena and Resorts World offer, and create a “commercial gateway of business and mixed use development”.

These changes will be served by a rapid transit loop connecting across destinations within the site and to the wider transport offer – linking the Metro Extension, which will run through East Birmingham and connect the two HS2 stations at Curzon and the Interchange site, and a series of Sprint routes linking UK Central with Birmingham and Solihull.