Jewellery Quarter hotel plan axed
HOTEL plans for a massive Jewellery Quarter development have been dropped. The £110 million ‘Hockley Mills’ project will redevelop four acres of land between the train station and Warstone Lane cemetery into a new complex with more than 400 apartments.
Developer Blackswan Property has revamped the scheme after it was first revealed last summer, scrapping a boutique hotel and reducing the number of flats by 82.
The height of the complex has also been reduced by four storeys.
Blackswan’s directors Marcus Hawley and Richard Whitehouse said they had struggled to find the right operator to run the 42-bedroom hotel. That space will now be used for 30,000 sq ft of office space.
The project will be built on land currently occupied by auto service centre Mr Tyre, at the corner of Pitsford Street and Icknield Street.
This latest version includes plans for 406 apartments and a new entrance leading directly into the Jewellery Quarter station.
Blackswan is hoping to secure planning permission in May and start work in the first quarter of 2019.
The commercial elements would be done first and the overall development is expected to take up to five years to complete. Mr Hawley said the Jewellery Quarter welcomed around 1.5 million visitors a year who were coming for the first time but he felt the district failed to capture them enough so that they returned.
He added: “This is the largest amount of commercial space being provided in the Jewellery Quarter since the 1960s. But in order for this to work, we need to have critical mass and create a place.
“There is no grade A retail space in the Jewellery Quarter and a lot of the shops are in old workshops and that’s why you don’t have any of the bigger names in the quarter like Swarovski and Pandora.
“The commercial space is the most expensive part of the scheme and there’s no point building it if it doesn’t work so that means connecting it to the rest of the Jewellery Quarter, providing services people actually want. We’re adding to the commercial space in the Jewellery Quarter at a time when so much is being lost to residential conversions.”
Artist’s impressions of the revamped plans for the Hockley Mills development in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham