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Pride in the Profession

11 JUN 2018

Rod Willis FRICS: Birmingham New Street Station redevelopment

As the Retail Portfolio Manager, Rod played a focal part in the creation of the Grand Central shopping centre to Birmingham New Street station. Its addition added a bright 21st century focal point for the city and has delivered one of the best-connected retail-transport spaces in the country.

The Grand Central is made up of 200,000 square feet of premium retail space and a further 250,000 square feet for a John Lewis department store, making it the largest store outside of London.

The train station itself has also improved passenger experiences with customer satisfaction increasing to 22% post-redevelopment, much of which can be linked to the improved retail offer and the increased capacity of the station. The new station can hold up to 300,000 passengers per day, but it is thought only 170,000 pass daily.

The re-development also challenged one of the biggest problems of the original station - its divisive layout. The south of the city previously had no access from the main shopping and business areas, therefore forcing people to go around the station. The new design has now connected the city, improving accessibility and attracting new investments. Following the completion of the project, roughly £1 billion of commercial property has changed hands.

This includes major institutions such as Deutsche Bank, HSBC, HS2 and of course RICS, establishing offices in Birmingham – generating thousands of new jobs. The project was awarded the RICS Awards Project of the year accolade in 2016.

The Managing Director of the Birmingham Office of Global Property Consultants noted: "We know from our own conversations with both investors and office occupiers that the infrastructure improvements, and in particular the investment in New Street station, have played a part in their decision making."

In addition to employment generated by new investors, the project also created 3,000 construction jobs, 115 youth apprenticeships and a further 1,000 retail jobs.

As well as being the Retail Portfolio Manager in Birmingham New Street, Rod is also in charge of Manchester Piccadilly, Liverpool Lime Street and London Euston, which is also concluding a significant retail re-development. His work at all four stations has led to increased customer satisfaction and significant urban regeneration.