Our review of Birmingham’s business news in 2020 moves into the spring and the second quarter when two major regeneration projects for Digbeth were unveiled in the space of a week.
Developer Cole Waterhouse revealed plans for a £260 million, mixed-use scheme on land off Upper Trinity Street, comprising a new hotel, more than 900 apartments, commercial space and a skypark running along the Duddeston Viaduct.
And just a few days later, Hub announced it wanted to transform the nearby National Express depot site into 2,000 residential units for both sale and rent, co-living and student accommodation alongside commercial space.
Cole Waterhouse submitted slightly revised plans later in December while Hub received planning consent from Birmingham City Council for its outline masterplan and the first phase of work to build 213 apartments.
The impact of relegation from the Premier League for West Bromwich Albion was laid out in stark detail in April when the club posted a pre-tax loss for the second year running.
In its annual accounts for 2018/19, the club made a pre-tax loss of £7 million, a slight improvement from a £7.5 million loss in 2017/18, while revenue fell by £54 million to £70.8 million.
The drop in turnover was due in large part to a fall in media-related income, from £102 million to £52.8 million, as a result of moving from the Premier League to Championship TV deal. It has since returned to the Premier League but has already changed managers this season.
A new partnership was launched to develop a controversial waste-to-energy plant in the Black Country.
London-based investor and asset manager Low Carbon teamed up with specialist developer Verus Energy and waste conversion firm Wheelabrator Technologies to develop, construct and operate the Kelvin Energy Recovery Facility.
It is claimed the project, near junction one of the M5 in West Bromwich, will divert 395,000 tonnes of non-recyclable household and business waste from landfill or export and instead use it to generate enough renewable energy to support 70,000 homes.
Department store chain Debenhams announced it was leaving as one the anchor tenants in the Bullring shopping centre in May.
The company, which fell into administration in April, said it had failed to agree a deal with landlord Hammerson at the centre in Birmingham and on four of its other stores around the country.
Fashion retailer Next revealed it would open beauty outlets in those five stores although it would only occupy a fraction of the vast space to be vacated by Debenhams at the Bullring.
There was a very high-profile departure from the region’s business community when it was suddenly announced that Andy Palmar was leaving luxury sports car brand Aston Martin after almost six years as chief executive.
The company lined up Tobias Moers from AMG Mercedes to take over the top job after a troubled period for Aston Martin which had seen it post a loss of £118.9 million for the first three months of 2020.
Planning chiefs in Solihull gave the green light to a £45 million expansion of the Resorts World Arena which will increase capacity by 6,000 to 21,600 by way of a huge extension.
Work will not start on the extension until after the 2022 Commonwealth Games in order to support the events industry as it recovers from the impact of the coronavirus.
Birmingham’s ambitions to go tall with its property developments received a double boost in May after two huge residential projects were revealed.
The team behind the £700 million Paradise scheme announced they were planning a 49-storey octagonal apartment tower overlooking Summer Row to contain 346 apartments to rent.
And Court Collaboration revealed it wanted to build a 48-storey tower on the site of the former Irish Centre in Digbeth containing 454 apartments, also to rent only.
A new railway station at the University of Birmingham was given the go ahead by city planners.
The station is undergoing a major overhaul to help it cope with a projected spike in annual users which transport chiefs say could hit seven million by 2043.
It was originally designed to handle 400,000 passengers a year.
Completing our look at the second quarter of 2020 is a new £3.2bn economic blueprint to aid the region’s recovery from the impact of covid-19.
Green manufacturing jobs, investment in healthcare and harnessing the benefits of the 2022 Commonwealth Games were all included in the vision, compiled by the West Midlands Combined Authority.
The hope from business and civic leaders was to convince Westminster to back the region with billions worth of funding.