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Design & Development

Birmingham City owners acquire land for ‘world-class’ stadium

Featured image credit: fitzyt/CC BY 3.0/Edited for size

Featured image credit: fitzyt/CC BY 3.0/Edited for size

The owners of Birmingham City have acquired a 48-acre site in Bordesley Park with a view to creating a new sports quarter that can house a “world-class” stadium for the Championship club.

Knighthead Capital Management has acquired the former Wheels site in the east of the city and plans on building a new multi-use stadium, high-performance training facilities and other mixed-use real estate development including a range of entertainment opportunities.

It was reported last month that Knighthead had acquired the site from Birmingham City Council and the club confirmed a deal had been struck in a statement released at midnight today (Tuesday). The Bordesley Park site is less than a mile from the club’s current home, St. Andrew’s (pictured).

Birmingham is owned by US investment firm Knighthead Annuity & Life Assurance. In January, the company furthered its investment in the club by announcing a multi-year stadium naming-rights deal that could be worth as much as £25.4m (€29.6m/$32.1m) over the initial three years.

The deal, described as the largest commercial agreement in the club’s history, officially renamed the stadium as St. Andrew’s @ Knighthead Park.

City has played at St. Andrew’s since 1906 but Knighthead is targeting a new stadium for the club. No timeline has been announced for when the stadium might be ready, and no details have been given regarding the capacity of the venue.

The club said the development of the sports quarter in Bordesley Park will generate over 3,000 local jobs. The plans have been led by Knighthead co-chief executive and City chairman Tom Wagner, and chief executive Garry Cook.

City said its ambition is for the sports quarter to become a “globally recognisable” sporting and entertainment location.

“When we invested in Birmingham City, we made it very clear that we had an ambitious vision to transform the experience for our fans and make a positive contribution to the growth and vitality of the city of Birmingham,” said Wagner.

“The acquisition of the former Wheels site is an important next step in making this a reality. The plans for the sports quarter will bring global interest to our club and to Birmingham as a whole. It is going to transform the future of our men’s, women’s and academy teams, and the fortunes of the community that we call home. We are excited to collaborate with the fans, the local community, and key partners in Birmingham to deliver on our plans for the sports quarter.”

In June last year, the English Football League (EFL) approved Wagner’s acquisition of a controlling 45.96% stake in City. Wagner, co-founder of New York-based Knighthead Capital Management, had earlier agreed to acquire a stake in the club and assume ownership of St. Andrew’s.

The club currently sits 22nd in the Championship table, one point from safety with five matches of the season remaining.