Thursday, 8 May 2014

The MSc Real Estate students go to Birmingham

Nick French (Professor of Real Estate and Director of the MSc Real Estate) took the MSc RE students on a field trip to Birmingham - a city which appears to be undergoing 'gentrification' and one which some might say is becoming the UK's second city.

The field trip was hosted by GVA, which began life in Birmingham in 1840 and is now the UK's largest independent commercial property consultant (GVA is also one of the sponsors of the MSc Real Estate). The trip allowed the students to see how a prominent provincial market is fairing in the current economic climate. There is a move of UK investors to invest outside London (due to over-pricing within the London bubble) and Birmingham, with it's 'Big City Plan' and stream of major regeneration projects is in a prime place to benefit. The public realm has been improved substantially, most recently with the new library and the continued success of the redeveloped Bullring (shopping centre) which are helping drive the regeneration of the area between the Bullring and the Birmingham New Street Station/Shopping Mall.

The new Library of Birmingham (photo by Yuhang) 

The morning started with a visit to Fort Dunlop, a development by Urban Splash. Fort Dunlop is now a stunning office building which boasts a number of amazing and innovative features, but when it first opened in 1917 it was the biggest factory in the world and it manufactured solid tyres for lorries. In the 1970s it was still the largest tyre factory outside of the USA, but with the increase in imported cars, large scale tyre production ceased in the 1980s. In 1999, Urban Splash acquired the site, breathing new life into the old buildings and a new chapter began. Have a look at the Urban Splash website for the full story and some great images of the development.

This was followed by a visit to the home of GVA at 3 Brindleyplace for a briefing on local offices, investments and retail markets. Brindleyplace itself is an award winning business and leisure destination in the heart of Birmingham.

Waters Edge, Brindleyplace (photo by Yuhang)

The students moved on to the Bullring for lunch and a tour of the development which was completed in 2003 and stands on a site of great historical interest.

The Bullring and the iconic Selfridges Building (photo courtesy of Sir Robert McAlpine)

Finally, go back and click on the red text to link to some interesting additional information.

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