REVEALED: Take a look at this ambitious vision for Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton Council has just unveiled a string of spectacular images underlining its ambitions to transform the rundown area behind the city's railway station into a thriving new commercial district.
Dominating the scheme would be one of the tallest buildings in the city – a 150,000 sq ft mix of offices and flats on the site of the current Cornhill car park.
At least 14 stories in height, the tower is just one of a string of new projects unveiled at the international MIPIM property conference in Cannes this week in the hope of attracting developers and investors.
No price tag on building the tower has been produced, but it is expected to be more than £10 million.
The new commercial district would surround the city's Interchange - the revamped railway station linked to both the extended Midland Metro and the bus station.
It is proposed as a 10 year vision for the area, taking dilapidated and derelict sites and transforming them into top grade offices. The aim would be to attract businesses that want to be part of the growing West Midlands economy but don't want to pay Birmingham property prices.
WATCH: This showcase of the projects
The success of the strategy was shown by the council's £10m investment in the i10 office building, which was rapidly filled by the likes of Countryside, Ovivo and Tarmac.
The city council believes that building the right kind of top quality offices will bring more jobs and prosperity to the city,
Working in partnership with leading developers Ion, the council has unveiled the ambitious plans during the World Class Developments hotspot at the global property forum.
The commercial district will deliver one million sq ft of top qualit office space over strategic sites at the heart of "an integrated regional road, rail and tram hub".
Work is due to start on site later this year on the £12.3 million, eye-catching i9 building.
This is intended to provide 50,000 sq ft of office space for a national or regional headquarters for a major business when completed in 2020.
The commercial district proposal has also been backed by the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm, CBRE.
The strategic sites are Banana Yard, Cornhill, Steam Mill, Sack Works, i9, Broad Street Hub, and Urban Park.
Councillor John Reynolds, the council's economy chief, said: “Our vision for the City of Wolverhampton Interchange is rapidly becoming a reality.
“We now need to take advantage of having state-of-the-art facilities at the heart of the UK’s high-speed rail and motorway networks, with an international airport just 30 minutes away.
“Since i10 was completed we have seen increasing demand for quality office space in that location of the city, particularly from large space users.
“i9 will now follow, and developing a wider city-centre commercial district makes perfect sense to boost the city’s economic future.”
The council says the Interchange project will make "big strides" in 2018 – providing an attractive commercial gateway to those entering the city by national rail, bus or tram services.
The Midland Metro city centre extension will connect the tram directly to the front of a new railway station, allowing easy interchange between different modes of public transport.
Work on the extension along Pipers Row is expected to lead to months of traffic congestion from next week.
Works on the demolition of the current station have started, and train services will remain fully operational while a new state-of-the-art railway station emerges next to it by 2020.
Steve Parry, managing director of Ion, added: "The commencement of works on the new railway station building is bringing into focus how well connected the new Commercial District at Wolverhampton Interchange will be.
“We are convinced that it will become a popular location for business."