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Construction work is officially underway on St. Modwen’s £70 million first phase of the Longbridge town centre regeneration scheme, paving the way for one of the region’s most thriving commercial, leisure and retail destinations.

Contractor Morgan Sindall is responsible for building the town centre which is due to be completed next year, generating more than 1,000 jobs for local people.

The town centre will feature an 85,000 sq ft Sainsbury’s, 75-bedroom Premier Inn hotel and Beefeater Grill 24 shops and restaurants and offices and car parking.

Key to the scheme will be the two acre Austin Park which will lead to the opening up of the River Rea for the first time in 100 years. The development will also create new access roads and improvements to the local road network.

Mark Batchelor, construction manager for St. Modwen said: “Following a competitive tender process St. Modwen has appointed design and build contractor Morgan Sindall to deliver the new town centre, a key part in our transformation of the former MG Rover Works.

“Along with the recently opened Bournville College, 113 houses and apartments being constructed at the Park View scheme and The Factory youth centre, Longbridge is fast establishing itself as a vibrant community.”

Julian Price, area manager of Morgan Sindall said: “We are looking forward to delivering the Longbridge town centre scheme in 2013, creating a new destination that will support the local economy by creating jobs and attracting trade for local businesses.

“This is our second project working with St. Modwen at Longbridge – one of the UK’s largest regeneration schemes – and we are very proud to be playing a part in this important project. Earlier this year we completed construction on The Factory, which has now been handed over to Birmingham City Council ready for its launch this summer.”

Mike Murray, senior development surveyor at St. Modwen, said: “The start of construction work on the town centre is a significant milestone in our overall vision for Longbridge. Our plans will create a lively destination where people can live, stay, shop, dine and do business.

“Securing commitment from high profile names like Sainsbury’s and Premier Inn, along with the discussions taking place with many other national and local retailers and occupiers, illustrates the faith in this prestigious new development.”

The opening of the town centre will bring investment at Longbridge up to £250 million since St. Modwen’s acquisition of the site 2003. This investment has already created 1,160 permanent jobs at Longbridge through the development of the Technology Park, Cofton Centre and the £66 million new Bournville College, which opened in September 2011. The first 113 new homes are already being delivered at Longbridge in partnership with the Government’s Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). Last month St. Modwen also handed over The Factory, the £5 million youth centre will provide a wide range of innovative services to 13 -19 year olds.

The regeneration of Longbridge is a £1 billion project covering 468 acres. It aspires to create 10,000 jobs through a diverse range of industries, together with 2,000 new homes, the new town centre, parks and public open spaces.