A new small business complex is set to launch in Birmingham city centre.
The scheme in Digbeth will feature 20,000 sq of space across three storeys and contain a street food hall, bakery, dessert parlour, coffee shop, gallery and other businesses alongside an events space.
Called Art.quarter, it is the brainchild of former hairdresser and club night promoter Jordan Patel who has spent two years transforming a disused paper mill in Allison Street.
Among the brands to launch there are an American Crew men’s grooming store, Red Bull gaming arena and Coco’s Dessert Factory.
There will also be an open-plan, co-working office space and a mezzanine level ‘contemplation room’ while a second phase will have a fitness studio and multimedia centre.
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Mr Patel said: “I think people are desperate for some hope, something really positive to look forward to.
“This gives them something positive to focus on and will be a way for them to ramp up their skills and learn a new trade.
“We’ll offer some of the office space for free for people just starting out. I know a lot are likely to come out of the coronavirus period in a bad place.
“We want to be a beacon of hope, a platform that can support a multi-cultural community after this horrendous experience is over.
“I believe this is going to become an iconic venue for all ages. Everyone knows that Digbeth is the arts capital of Birmingham.
“People have said how did you get this location? But if they’d seen it two years ago, you’d understand why nobody would touch it.”
The complex was due to launch this month but has been delayed because of the lockdown however Mr Patel said the project was ready to go once the restrictions were eased.
“I know we’re all going through an extremely testing and challenging time but after the rain, there’s always sunshine and that’s how I believe you should look at this thing,” he added.