Council Leader Whitby's Arab adventure for Birmingham

Birmingham City Council leader Mike Whitby is to go to Kuwait for five days of intensive discussions from the 25th - 30th January aimed at encouraging further investment in Birmingham and highlighting the extent of opportunities for investment in Birmingham.

Whitby will meet first with Salhia's managing director and deputy managing director. Salhia are currently working on plans to develop a mixed use development of retail, offices and hotel on a site bordered by Park Street, Digbeth, Allison Street and Well Lane.

The following images are from TREVOR HORNE ARCHITECTS showing the proposed development and siteplan of the scheme titled Beorma Quarter.

Images reproduced from

Whitby will then present plans on the growth of Birmingham over the next 20 years with a presentation on the Big City Plan to a select group at Kuwait Chamber of Commerce. Following this he will firm up plans for a formal higher education tie-up between Birmingham and Kuwait City.

Kuwait has identified Birmingham as an Islamic friendly city and wishes to start a formal programme where students are educated in Birmingham's academic institutions.

It will be encouraging to see what investment Whitby is able to attract with Balli Real Estate (BREL), the property development and investment division of Middle East property giant Balli Holdings, already investing in the Latitude development in Birmingham's southside because of it's opportunities for strategic investment.

David Reid, Director of BREL comments: "We see city centre property in Birmingham as a strategic long-term investment. Birmingham is the second largest city in the UK, with a strong economy, a growing population and a beautifully regenerated city centre. For both owner occupiers and investors this city offers many opportunities."

The courting of Middle Eastern investors follows a prospectus Locate Birmingham had developed titled Birmingham Finance The Islamic Opportunity which sits alongside Kuwait's view of Birmingham as an Islamic friendly city with Birmingham already the headquarters of the Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB) which became the first Islamic bank in the Western world when it opened in 2004.

“Birmingham is an excellent location for IBB”, explains Sultan Choudhury, Commercial Director, “The city is centrally located within reach of 90% of the UK Muslim population. The city has a skilled labour force, cost effective office space, the largest professional services sector outside London and a growing financial services industry. All these factors combine to provide critical advantages to a retail bank such as IBB”.


Michael said…
I'm intrigued to know how Mr Whitby can be attracting investment against the Big City Plan when said plan is still in its public consultation stage, and the various 'options' are apparently yet to be decided upon.

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