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Birmingham fire station set for conversion

Birmingham fire station set for conversion
Birmingham's former Central Fire Station is to be reborn as student accommodation as plans have been revealed for a major new construction project.

Watkins Jones, the company behind the proposals, has unveiled a vision for the future which will turn the old facility into an urban village that will be able to house the multitude of students that attend university in the heart of Birmingham. Undergraduates and postgraduates at both Aston University and Birmingham City University will be accommodated in the new complex once the conversion of the grade II listed fire station is complete.

The building has sat in the heart of the UK's second city since 1935 and is a stone's throw from Birmingham City and Aston's campuses. Due to its location, developers see it as a prime target to be converted into student accommodation to go alongside the plethora of similar buildings that already flank the two institutes. Officials have submitted plans to Birmingham City Council and are currently awaiting a response but believe that the fire station is ideal for boosting the options available to students who are coming to study in the city.

Watkins Jones and architects K4 have said that there will be space for 463 people within the accommodation as the building is split into a variety of flat spaces such as studios, clusters and flatshares. Officials added there is also scope to build shops, bars and leisure amenities for the students that take up accommodation here. And while there is currently only two academic-friendly pubs near the fire station, it could provide a major selling point for students.

Jason Berry, development director of Watkins Jones, said: "Of the £28 million build costs, we are investing £8 million alone into the conservation work required to protect and preserve this historic building.

"Although there is no tower, the proposals go beyond 'textbook conservation', where the interventions are still bold and challenging in their own right. We have now increased the conversion aspect of the listed building, including basement spaces and the Drill Tower."

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Date: 02/11/2012 16:28:00

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