The transformation of Birmingham New Street station and the Pallasades gathered pace as the backers behind the scheme saw the progress being made to construct John Lewis’ new department store which is being delivered as part of the redevelopment.
Andy Street, managing director John Lewis, David Higgins, chief executive Network Rail and Sir Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham City Council were on hand at New Street to see the foundations for the new shop being laid.
The new 250,000 sq ft full line John Lewis department store will anchor an upgraded Pallasades shopping centre to create a new retail destination in the heart of Birmingham and cementing the city’s status as one of the UK’s premier retail destinations.
David Higgins, chief executive, Network Rail said: “The exciting changes we are delivering at New Street vividly show how investment in transport infrastructure can benefit cities and communities by triggering regeneration, new jobs and economic growth. With a new John Lewis and Pallasades coming in 2014, and a state of the art station complete in 2015, Birmingham has a lot to look forward to.”
Work to redevelop the Pallasades centre got underway in 2011 and the demolition of Stephenson Tower earlier this year paved the way for construction of John Lewis Birmingham.
Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “A true feat of engineering is taking place on the New Street site to transform the station, whilst tens of thousands of people continue to travel in and out of our city - uninterrupted - every day.
“In the coming months, residents and visitors will start to see the station and the John Lewis store take shape. We welcome the retail offer it will bring to the city, boosting the local economy by more than £25m each year along with the opportunity for 650 local people to take up new jobs in the store.”
With the foundations laid, the superstructure of the shop will start to take shape over the coming months, with John Lewis and the new Pallasades centre set to open in Autumn 2014. New Street station will remain open throughout construction, passengers will notice the first major change in April 2013 when a new concourse opens, the station redevelopment completes in 2015.
Andy Street, Managing Director, John Lewis said: “We are very pleased to be playing a part in the regeneration of Birmingham city centre and believe this will cement the city’s status as a key UK retail destination. With construction of John Lewis Birmingham now underway, we are looking forward to fulfilling our long term ambition of bringing our unique retail and employment offer to the city.”
Rail Minister Theresa Villiers added: “This is an exciting time for rail passengers travelling across the Midlands. Not only has the Government backed the transformation of Birmingham New Street which will give the city a station it can truly be proud of, we are also pressing ahead with a national high speed network with Birmingham at it’s very heart.”