Finance

New life as artistic hub for Birmingham’s Junction Works building

Work has begun to transform a run-down listed building in Birmingham into a new home for artists.

Charity Grand Union, which runs a gallery and artist studios in the city, is working with landlord Homes England on the scheme to bring new life back to the grade II Junction Works complex in Digbeth.

It has secured £500,000 from Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), a further £25,000 from developer Stoford and £150,000 of private funding for phase one of the works.

This will see the front part of the building renovated to create four new office suites for creative sector businesses which are expected to be ready for use by the beginning of 2022.

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A further £2.6 million is now being sought to transform the remainder of the building in Fazeley Street to create a new arts centre.

Grand Union plans to relocate its gallery and artist studios from its current home in nearby Minerva Works where it has been based since 2010 and has affordable workspace for artists and a public gallery.

Junction Works dates back to the mid-19th century building and is located at the junction of Grand Union and Digbeth Branch canals.

It has been empty for several years after suffering fire damage in 2004.

A string of other property sector businesses are working on the project including commercial property firm Bruntwood Works and Birmingham-based practices Associated Architects and BPN Architects.

Construction company Graham, which has recently completed the renovation of The Grand Hotel in Colmore Row, will be delivering this first phase of refurbishment.

Grand Union’s director Cheryl Jones said: “This is such an exciting development for our capital project which will transform our organisation and the opportunities we can offer to people to experience, connect with and create visual art.

“Collaboration is key to our work at Grand Union and so we are delighted to be working with GBSLEP and so many brilliant businesses in the city’s property sector on this project.”

Anita Bhalla, board director at GBSLEP, added: “Our cultural organisations are an integral part of the regional economy and we are committed to investing in projects that support local growth.

“Our investment of £500,000 in the development of the Grand Union Gallery and Artist Studios reflects our belief that the creative Industries are a catalyst for job creation.”

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Rob Valentine, director for Birmingham at Bruntwood Works, said: “We’re committed to creating thriving cities.

“Providing the space for creative and artistic hubs to flourish not only enhances the quality of life in a city, it’s also an important economic driver for the region.

“The transformation of Junction Works will not only provide a high-quality, inspiring base for Grand Union, the project is also helping to connect a community of supporters, and build a future network for creativity, ideas and collaboration.”

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