Oval, working with Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) and Create Central, has officially launched the reimagined space, The Bond in Digbeth.
The ‘Creative Content Hub’ was officially launched last night with a party attended by over 400 people from the worlds of television, film, content production, business, property and the creative sector.
At its core, The Bond’s purpose is to re-establish itself, Digbeth and Birmingham as the epicentre of screen and digital talent in the Midlands; acting as a home for native creatives and a magnet for incomers.
Digbeth, the city’s Creative Quarter, is a cradle for businesses of all sizes, from thriving independents to internationals. The BBC is set to open its new broadcast centre in the area in 2026, a move which will also see MasterChef set up home in Digbeth in 2024. Steven Knight’s proposed film studio and HS2 will also be heading to Digbeth whilst Joe Lycett will be bringing a new Channel 4 show to the area.
North One, the biggest independent production company in the Midlands and the team behind shows such as Fifth Gear, Gadget Show, Guy Martin and Travel Man, will be moving into The Bond in May 2023 alongside All3Media stablemate Optomen Television, producer of Great British Menu for the BBC, and All3Media facilities and post production arm Manor Production Services.
Oval has been investing and developing buildings in Birmingham for over 20 years and has partnered with influential industry body Create Central and GBSLEP to bring The Bond back to life.
James Craig, founder of Oval Real Estate, said “We are thrilled to officially re-launch The Bond in Digbeth.
As custodians of the Digbeth Estate we are beyond proud to reveal the Midlands’ newest production hub, The Bond will be an epicentre for film, media and tech within the growing community.
Oval Real Estate develop, manage and invest in buildings throughout the UK. Specialising in spaces sometimes overlooked, we aim to leave buildings and neighbourhoods better than we found them. As such our ambition is to continue to work with the West Midlands Combined Authority and Birmingham City Council to deliver meaningful change in Digbeth by continuing the careful transformation of the area.”
Create Central Chair, Ed Shedd said “When Create Central was launched in 2019 the Members pitched the idea of a content hub – it’s so exciting to see the real, tangible results from all the industry’s hard work paying off. The Bond is a great example of a collaborative approach between the public and private sectors to unlock the region’s potential. Working in partnership to support new ways of working that will open up opportunities for young creatives, and help to re-invent and future-proof traditional television, film and wider digital content production in the West Midlands.”
Chair of Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership ( GBSLEP), Anita Bhalla said: “ It’s great to see The Creative Content Hub open! There is huge potential to explore virtual reality and artificial reality in TV and games and to drive forward innovative content production in our region. This facility is a crucial part of the wider plan for the Digbeth Creative Quarter. GBSLEP’s £3m Local Growth Fund contribution is based on bringing businesses, public and academic sectors together to make locally informed robust investments that create jobs and help grow the economy in an inclusive and sustainable way. What a great time for the creative economy which is worth £4 billion in our LEP region and has the potential to add 30,000 jobs and 3,600 more businesses to the creative cluster”.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “It’s wonderful to see the rebirth of The Bond and I want to pay tribute to the tremendous spirit of collaboration that has helped bring this about. When we work together as a team – as the Commonwealth Games showed – the West Midlands can be truly world class. As we drive our regional economic recovery forward, one of the eight pillars in our Plan for Growth is the vital importance of creative content production & gaming so this launch is very timely. Just as our region powered the industrial revolution in centuries gone by, we will be a creative powerhouse in the years ahead – changing the lives of local people for the better.”
Sitting at the junction of the River Rea and the Grand Union Canal, with its own wharf, The Bond has been reimagined from its industrial origins as an Ice Factory, the HP Sauce Factory for Birmingham and a Bonded Warehouse before spending 30 years derelict. The Bond’s relaunch is a landmark scheme which harnesses the embodied carbon of the older building whilst introducing modern technology.
The Bond comprises five main structures which provide 55,000 sq ft for businesses of all sizes, including event spaces, screening rooms, pod rooms, canalside studios and its own wharf: First Floor 4,761 sq ft, Third Floor 8,169 sq ft and Third Floor Mezzanine, Toll House Ground Floor 2,135 sq ft and First Floor 3,019 sq ft and Retort House 5,974 sq ft.
The Bond will also be available for event hire, offering state of the art spaces suitable for a variety of events ranging from screenings, conferences, film shoots and award ceremonies.
Further information about The Bond’s spaces can be found here