Last year’s Stirling Prize-winning practice, Stanton Williams, is making final preparations for its overhaul of Birmingham’s iconic luxury retail centre, the Mailbox
The entire mall will be enclosed and skylit to create an ‘Urban Room’ with new facades, finishes and store frontages.
Harvey Nichols’ flagship store at the heart of the centre will more than double its size to a 4,200m² unit while other retailers which have already closed in preparation for the work - including L.K. Bennett, Jaeger and Gieves and Hawkes – will return upon completion, which is expected in early 2015.
Make Architects previously housed its Midland headquarters at the Mailbox but moved out in July because of the redevelopment and a fall in regional business.
Harvey Nichols, Emporio Armani, Toni and Guy Essensuals and BBC Birmingham will stay open throughout refurbishment of the Mailbox along with bars, restaurants, hotels, commercial offices and the car park. Changes are already underway at the mall in preparation for the overhaul.
The new Harvey Nichols unit will be over six metres in height, and will be engineered to make the most of natural light and improve store design. Owners Brockton Capital and Milligan said they have earmarked ‘substantial funds’ to enhance the building and public realm.
Mailbox is working with Birmingham City Council to introduce an improved pedestrian friendly public realm that will stretch from the underpass beneath Suffolk Street Queensway to the front of Mailbox.
Paul Hanegraaf, creative navigator at development partner Milligan, said the Urban Room ‘will form the centrepiece of Mailbox’s customer experience, creating a brand new, elegant space.
‘It was very clear from our focus groups that the Birmingham shopper wanted Mailbox to retain its unique and exclusive status and so this very much forms part of our central strategy.’