Birmingham plans to transform city into global financial hub

Updated: 2015-02-04 21:25


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LONDON -- A $910 million master plan to transform Britain's second biggest city, Birmingham, into a global business and financial center was launched Wednesday.

The transformation of the Snow Hill and Colmore districts of the Midlands' city will create 10,000 new jobs and 4,000 new homes, said officials in Birmingham.

The ambitious project will enable Birmingham to rival London's Canary Wharf and place the city in the same league as business districts in Switzerland's Zurich and Germany's Frankfurt.

The master plan outlines a framework for Birmingham to generate thousands of new jobs, create almost 21,000 square meters of office space and boost the local economy by over 900 million dollars each year. The plan includes improved transport links and the redevelopment of Snow Hill railway station.

The leader of Birmingham City Council, Sir Albert Bore said: "Birmingham is putting in place the building blocks for a global business and financial center. The city is already investing heavily to ensure firms have everything they need to thrive here."

City leaders expect the transformation to encourage more firms in the BPFS sector (business, professional and financial services)

to relocate to Birmingham, following the move to the city last year of Deutsche Bank, already employing 2,000 staff.

Birmingham's professional and financial services sector is the largest outside of London, generating 23 billion dollars a year, with more than 21,000 companies employing 220,000 people based in the Greater Birmingham region.

Marketing Birmingham, the region's official inward investment agency aims to entice investment into the Birmingham area by promoting the fact operational costs can be up to 55 percent cheaper than in London.

Gary Cardin, chairman of the city's central business district said: "Birmingham's cost-effective office space, world-class transport links, and abundant supply of local talent has created the ideal environment for investment."

Following Wednesday's announcement, a six week consultation period starts Feb. 9 to give the public a chance to comment on the project.