Northern Irish construction firm McLaughlin & Harvey (MCLH) has been awarded the contract to redevelop Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in the English city.

MCLH was reported to have secured the contract last week and Birmingham City Council has now confirmed the deal. The firm will be tasked with transforming Alexander Stadium into a “high-quality venue for diverse sporting, leisure, community and cultural events”.

The Alexander Stadium redevelopment project received approval from Birmingham City Council’s planning committee in January. The £72m (€77m/$83m) project will see the stadium’s capacity permanently increase from 12,700 to 18,000, with temporary seating for up to 40,000 during major events.

MCLH has experience in delivering projects for major sporting events, including the temporary 12,000-seat basketball arena for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Other projects carried out by the firm include the redevelopment of Bristol’s Ashton Gate Stadium and Glasgow’s Scotstoun facility.

MCLH has pledged to create 30 new jobs, targeted from local wards, and has also promised that 85 per cent of spend will be with local small and medium-sized enterprises.

Additionally, MCLH has pledged to become a Real Living Wage accredited organisation; develop an on-site visitor centre for exhibiting construction progress and delivering community events; donate excess materials to local community organisations; launch a school engagement programme to inspire children to STEM-based careers; create a community fund to support local organisations; and work towards a carbon-neutral construction environment through renewable energy, reduced emissions and carbon offset funding for ecological initiatives.

The redevelopment of Alexander Stadium will form part of a wider £500m investment in the Perry Barr area of Birmingham over the coming years. Plans also include new housing, improved transport and related upgrades to infrastructure and public space.

Councillor Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “The regeneration of Perry Barr is one of the key priorities for the council, so the finalisation of a contract to rebuild the Alexander Stadium marks the passing of yet another significant milestone as we translate our plans into reality for the people of Birmingham.

“We have secured an experienced contractor with a strong track record of delivery on schemes like this and look forward to the progress they make in the weeks and months ahead. Just as important as this are the social value and environmental commitments we have secured from McLaughlin & Harvey, which will ensure this scheme is delivered in a sustainable way that not only provides a fantastic new facility for the city, but meaningful employment and training opportunities too.”

After the Games, Alexander Stadium will serve as the home of the Birchfield Harriers Athletics Club, as well as Birmingham City University’s sports and exercise students.

MCLH managing director Paul Griffen added: “The redeveloped Alexander Stadium will showcase Birmingham on an international stage, providing exceptional facilities for its users, whilst supporting a legacy and next generation of athletes and students who will call Alexander Stadium their home.

“This project will enable us to make a difference to the community through social value and our recent experience in major sports projects will ensure we provide Birmingham with a spectacular facility to be proud of.”

The redevelopment of Alexander Stadium will see a new western stand replace the Main, Knowles and Nelson stands at the venue. New tiered seating to the north and south will also be added, along with a new 400m, six-lane warm-up track. A new World Athletics Category 1 track will also be re-laid, while new lighting and a practice throwing field will be fitted.

It is hoped that construction work can commence in the coming weeks, with completion in late 2021.

Image: Birmingham City Council