The site is the chosen home for the 250,000sq ft John Lewis department store, scheduled to open in 2014, prior to the redeveloped New Street station in 2015.
On hand to officially commence the start of works, Mike Whitby, leader of Birmingham City Council said: “Demolishing Stephenson Tower signifies the start of £100m worth of investment to redevelop the south side of Birmingham. With John Lewis directly creating over 650 new jobs for local people and New Street offering a world class station for our region, the future of Birmingham looks bright.”
“After several years of planning and attracting investment into the city through the Big City Plan, this event, alongside ongoing progress with the Library of Birmingham and start of works this summer in Eastside, really marks the beginning of a period of delivery which will bring real jobs, investment and improvements to the city.”
Over 7000 tonnes of concrete will be removed between now and early next year when demolition completes and around 95% of material from the project will be recycled. Situated in the heart of the city and next to the operating railway station, demolishing the 200ft high tower will be no easy task. Throughout demolition, the level of disruption will be kept to a minimum as work will start from the top down, one floor at a time from within the scaffold wrap encapsulating the tower.
Andrew Skidmore, programme sponsor for Network Rail commented: “Once complete, the redevelopment of New Street station will transform the centre of Birmingham, providing a transport hub fit for the 21st Century and offering a wealth of further opportunities through our partnership with Birmingham City Council. This work really kick starts the excitement of what we have to come.”
Councillor Tom Ansell, lead member for rail on transport authority Centro, added: “The demolition of the tower is a very visual reminder of how we are forging ahead in the construction of a station that passengers and the region as a whole can be proud of.”
To allow demolition to continue safely, the stairs linking Queens Drive to Station Street will close on Saturday 2 July. This will be followed by the closure of Queens Drive to pedestrians on 1 August. Alternative routes will be signposted.