The NEC Group has today (Wednesday) launched a new masterplan that aims to transform over 27 hectares of surface level car parking and surplus land at the NEC Campus site in Birmingham, England.

The NEC Campus houses Resorts World Arena and the UK’s largest exhibition venue, the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), along with a host of other facilities. Overall, the plans revealed today are set to create:

14,000m2 of new outdoor event space

35,000m2 of new commercial space

A new hotel

New restaurants and cafes

An estimated 3,500 new local jobs

5,000 new homes

A new primary school

A greener and more sustainable environment on the NEC Campus

The NEC Group said a greater local community will evolve with the development of a new urban village of 5,000 homes, located in the north of the site, capable of accommodating over 11,000 people.

Located at the heart of the UK’s transport network, with access to road, rail and air travel, the area has strong local, national and international connectivity. The NEC Masterplan will enhance this further by connecting the development to the High Speed 2 Interchange Station, the first HS2 stop outside London. Alighting from a 38-minute journey from England’s capital, passengers will be able to travel to the NEC Campus via a short, four-minute shuttle via an automated people mover.

A new grand plaza and urban boulevard will be introduced, in an effort to further promote a lively and attractive environment within the NEC Campus for conferencing and exhibitions.  

The grand plaza will seek to redefine the area surrounding the NEC’s Atrium halls, enhancing the visitor and organiser experience with 14,000m2 of new outdoor event space, ready to host a wide range of events. Cafes, restaurants and a new hotel will service the new plaza, to create a hub of activity for visitors. An enhanced drop off and welcome zone will also provide a more streamlined visitor experience. 

Connecting the site with Arden Cross and the HS2 Interchange Station, the urban boulevard will extend a pedestrian focused public realm from the NEC Piazza to a new bridge link over the M42 motorway. The urban boulevard will host a series of commercial buildings with ground floor retail and leisure space.

Maintaining operational access and car parking for events at the NEC will be an essential part of the overall development plan for the site. Residential access will be separated from logistics and visitor traffic and ample parking provisions will be maintained to ensure the venue can continue to service the busiest of events. In addition to the retention of many areas of surface level parking, future multi-storey car parks will enhance accessibility for visitors.

Central to the Masterplan are sustainable development principles promoting positive social, economic and environmental outcomes from future development. The NEC Group said site specific sustainability interventions will support climate change and clean air initiatives.

NEC Group CEO, Paul Thandi, said: “The NEC Campus is home to one of the top exhibition venues and arenas in Europe, and together with existing partners, we have long held ambitions to create a competitive destination to work, rest, live and play.

“These partners have seen the potential of the site and now will help us drive further investment and prosperity to the region. Now is the time to be bold and ambitious about the future and harness the power of the real estate we have to offer, whilst simultaneously maximising the benefits of having a young, diverse and entrepreneurial population. 

“The NEC Campus sits within a major engine of economic growth in the UK, recognised as one of the best-connected development zones in Europe. This Masterplan unites corporate ambition with global purpose, setting out our vision whilst considering eco and socially responsible practices. The NEC Group is committed to working in partnership with our landowners Birmingham City Council, to unlock the full and exciting potential of the site.”

The plans released today come with a number of a major projects currently in progress in the UK arena marketplace. These include Manchester’s new Co-op Live and the redevelopment of the city’s AO Arena, YTL Arena in Bristol, NewcastleGateshead Quays Arena and Conference & Exhibition Centre and a new arena in Cardiff, Wales.

Leader of Birmingham City Council, Councillor Ian Ward, said: “This is an exciting moment for Birmingham and the wider West Midlands, as this transformational Masterplan is published. Birmingham is attracting record levels of investment, and the NEC Masterplan is testament to that.

“Over the coming years this project will provide much-needed new homes and high-quality jobs for people from our region and I encourage people to make their thoughts known through the public consultation.

“I believe that we are at the beginning of a Golden Decade for Birmingham, with the Commonwealth Games taking place next year, and the arrival of HS2. The NEC Masterplan will connect the site with Arden Cross and the High Speed 2 Interchange, which together will transform this area, creating thousands of jobs and build thousands of homes.”

The Masterplan will be subject to a six-week period of public consultation running from today through to December 24. Following public consultation, the plan will be updated in response to comments and feedback. Following publication of the final Masterplan, the process to select a development partner for the first phase of the urban village will commence.

Images: NEC Group