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Arena Central Replacement Gets Green Light

The downscaled plans by Dandara for Arena Central featuring 18 and 23 storey towers have been approved by Birmingham City Council.

Designed by Hodder + Partners, the project sits next to the listed Alpha Tower and if built will feature 322 new apartments. If is perhaps the important word as the site has seen proposals since 1990 where a 40 metre tall office building was considered, and more recently the Arena Central Tower which would have been the tallest in the UK, and later the V Building.

Here Hodder + Partners have thrown out the idea of a single tower and gone instead for two using the nearby Alpha Tower as inspiration by setting their two structures at angles that compliment the footprint of the taller neighbour.

The exterior is dominated by white concrete, used partly to help the buildings fit into what is an office district dominated by the material, and mindful too of the look of the listed building nearby that shouldn't have neighbours that detract from it too much. With the right finish there could even be hints that they are part of the same development as the Alpha Tower, further enhanced by the proposed landscaping around the buildings bases that will tie them in with the Alpha Tower at ground level.

The basement levels of the tower feature parking, a sensible inclusion given the inner city site and the dependence that central Birmingham still has on the motorcar compared to other regional centres of the UK. Animating the ground level is the predictable addition of retail units.

Despite the approval of the council the scheme has proven controversial to some with English Heritage, the 20th Century Society and the Birmingham Civic Society all opposing the construction of the project on the basis that it harms the immediate surroundings of what is an acclaimed modernist building.

The developers hope to boldly go where no developer has gone before and actually start off-plan sales and construction work later in the year.

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Arena Central Building 2

Arena Central Building 2
Arena Central

Arena Central
Arena Central, Birmingham
Arena Central, Birmingham