Birmingham’s New Street Station scoops top building prize after £1bn revamp

UK’s most inspirational property projects announced at 2016 RICS Awards Grand Final

Following a major £1bn redevelopment, Birmingham’s New Street Station, designed by AZPML, has been crowned UK Project of the Year at the industry-leading Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Awards.

Over 90 of the UK’s most impressive property schemes battled it out for top honours at the 2016 RICS Awards Grand Final, where the redevelopment of Birmingham’s New Street station and Grand Central shopping centre triumphed to gain the top award.

The national Project of the Year accolade is presented to the scheme which demonstrates outstanding best practice and significant benefit to their local area and wider economy. The Birmingham Gateway & Grand Central project – delivered by a team including Mace, Network Rail, Birmingham City Council and Turner & Townsend – took the title for what the judging panel described as the most significant investment in regenerating Birmingham in a generation.

The regeneration of Birmingham’s New Street station and its former Pallasades shopping centre opened as Birmingham Grand Central in September last year. The £1bn scheme has transformed it into a popular retail and leisure destination and world-class station – five times the size of the original station – with a striking soccer pitch-sized atrium that floods the station with natural light. Meanwhile, the new shopping centre – above the station – is now home to the biggest John Lewis outside of London and a mix of premium fashion and quality high street brands and eateries.

The original New Street station opened in 1851, and was the largest station in the country. Today it caters for more than double the numbers of passengers it was initially designed to take, and is the eighth busiest railway station in the UK and the busiest outside London.

Commenting on the Project of the Year, which won four awards in its regional heat (Commercial, Infrastructure, Regeneration and Project of the Year), Chair of the RICS Awards Grand Final judging panel, David Tuffin FRICS of Tuffin Ferraby Taylor LLP said:

“As one of Britain’s largest and most important cities, Birmingham deserves a station and shopping and leisure destination of this remarkable calibre. This investment in the city has created around 10,000 jobs and is expected to deliver around £2bn in economic benefits. It is the catalyst for further regeneration in other parts of the city centre, which will create even more jobs.”

“The team behind Birmingham Gateway and Grand Central should be extremely proud. 180,000 passengers continued to use the station during the works, yet they still managed to create a visually striking, yet practical international gateway into Birmingham, on time, from which the city, its residents and visitors will prosper from enormously.”

The RICS Awards Grand Final – hosted by Gethin Jones, Broadcaster and TV personality and held at The London Hilton on Friday 14 October – celebrates the UK’s most inspirational initiatives in the land, property and construction sectors that have added real value to the communities they serve.

Category winners from each of the 12 regional RICS Award ceremonies – held earlier this year – competed to win the national accolade in their respective category, with the eight Grand Final winners as follows:

  1. Building Conservation: Mount Stewart, Newtownard (Northern Ireland)
  2. Commercial: Landrover BAR America’s Cup HQ, Portsmouth (South East)
  3. Community Benefit: Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool (North West)
  4. Design through Innovation: Black Rock Quarry, Portishead (South West)
  5. Infrastructure: Emergency Care Centre, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead (North East)
  6. Regeneration: Birmingham Gateway & Grand Central, Birmingham (West Midlands)
  7. Residental: Romilly Quarter, Barry (Wales)
  8. Tourism & Leisure: NT Future, South Bank (London)

A number of Highly Commended certificates were also awarded to schemes across the UK that had demonstrated excellence:

Building Conservation: Cardigan Castle, Cardigan (Wales), Commercial: 51 Hills Road, Cambridge (East), Community Benefit: SPACE Peoples Park, Portadown (Northern Ireland), Design through Innovation:  Essex Business School  (East), Infrastructure: Pendennis Masterplan Redevelopment, Falmouth (South West), Regeneration: DIY SOS Veterans Village, Manchester (North West), Residential: Rethinking Housing Delivery, Harworth (East Midlands), Tourism & Leisure: Cheltenham Racecourse (South West).

Mr Tuffin adds:

“Judging the Grand Final is always difficult for our judges as each of these schemes is of an exceptional calibre, having won a category award in their regional RICS Awards heat. I’d like to extend a huge well done to the teams behind the schemes that won, or were highly commended in the Grand Final as these projects are all positively contributing to their local communities and our country’s economy.”