The unveiling of plans for a new £193m central library in Birmingham has provided the city’s battered property sector with a rare piece of positive news.

The property industry, which at its peak surpassed manufacturing in its contribution to West Midlands GDP, is looking to the public sector for salvation.

The library would boast 20% more space and a home for historic archives. Dutch architects Mecanoo designed the new structure that would be built by contractor Carillion and project manager Capita Symonds.

However, bringing the scheme to fruition depends both on securing planning permission and on Birmingham City Council making land sales to private investors. The library is therefore a microcosm of the development environment in the city. About £20bn in new schemes have been approved but they will take a long time to realise without improving investor sentiment.

Financial Times