Exciting new images of plans to dramatically change the face of the City of Wolverhampton have today been unveiled at international property show MIPIM.
City of Wolverhampton Council’s Strategic Director for Place, Tim Johnson, announced Glenn Howells Architects as the winners of the city’s Interchange design competition.
At the heart of the plans is the eye-catching i9 modern office development to be built on Railway Drive, which has emerged as a scheme following the success of the award-winning i10 building opposite.
i10 was fully let within nine months of its doors opening.
It is hoped i9, which will provide 50,000 sq ft of Grade A office space, will be completed by the end of 2018 and will become a national or regional headquarters for a major business.
Glenn Howells Architects’ design was selected by the council and development partner, ION Development (formerly Neptune Developments), from a strong field of ten UK leading architects and urban design practices.
They are the architects behind the Paradise Birmingham scheme – one of the biggest city centre development projects in the UK.
To meet the criteria, the design also had to be sensitive to neighbouring Victorian landmarks such as the Chubb Buildings and the Prince Albert pub.
Councillor John Reynolds, Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “Glenn Howells Architects have produced outstanding designs, that combined with blueprints for the other parcels of land, will help us quickly progress developments with our Interchange partners over the coming years.
“Since i10 was completed we have seen increasing demand for quality office space in that location of the city, particularly from large space users.
“i9 was always envisaged to satisfy that demand, and we are confident these designs will deliver a landmark office building of the utmost quality that is entirely appropriate to its important historic setting.
“We want this building to become the design and quality benchmark for future developments in the city and to demonstrate our ambition for the city centre.
“This important site ideally lends itself to a distinctive, high-quality headquarters building. We know there are inquiries swirling around the market for that kind of building.”
Glenn Howells Architects Director, Dav Bansal, said: “As part of the city’s ambition to create a world-class arrival and new business address, we are delighted to be designing the next generation of office space for i9.”
The proposal also includes a vision for the former Steam Mill site, and a refreshed masterplan for the remaining parcels of land within the city’s £132 million transport hub and commercial gateway.
Other land earmarked for development includes sites beside the railway – old Sack Works, Banana Yard, and Boat Yard at Broad Street Wharf.
Steve Parry, Managing Director of ION Development, said: “The i9 competition attracted some excellent submissions, but Glenn Howells design stood out as an iconic building that is sympathetic within its environment, whilst still demonstrating City of Wolverhampton’s ambition to compete as a prime city centre office location.
“The development of this quality of building will broaden the appeal of City of Wolverhampton to a range of office occupiers who are seeking the highest standards. The proximity of transportation hubs and availability of cafés and restaurants on the ground floor will reinforce this part of the Interchange as a place to spend leisure time.”
The i9 design competition was announced at MIPIM UK – the UK’s largest exhibition and conference for property professionals – in October. MIPIM provides a market place for key UK figures and international investors to meet, discuss projects and opportunities, and do business.