City of Wolverhampton Council Strategic Director of Place, Tim Johnson, have officially announced at MIPIM UK an exciting design competition for the city’s prestigious i9 site within the Interchange development. The council and development partner, Neptune Developments, have called for an eye-catching modern office building befitting of a national headquarters or regional office which will be developed in this important site opposite the i10 building on Railway Drive.

To meet the criteria, the design must also be sensitive to neighbouring Victorian landmarks such as the Chubb Buildings and the Prince Albert pub. The brief also asks architects and urban design practices to provide concept designs for the former Steam Mill site as well as delivering a refreshed masterplan - including an overall design vision and development briefs - for the remaining parcels of land within Wolverhampton’s £120 million Interchange and the areas of public realm between them.

The move comes on the back of the success of i10, the Grade A office and retail development, which was fully let within nine months of opening its doors. Other land earmarked for development includes sites beside the railway – old Sack Works, Banana Yard and Boat Yard - and a hotel proposal next to the railway station multi-storey car park. Councillor John Reynolds, Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “The aim of the competition is to provide us with outstanding designs for i9 and the former Steam Mill site.

“This combined with blueprints for the other parcels of land, will help us quickly progress developments with our Interchange partners over the coming years. “Since i10 was completed we have seen increasing demand for quality office space in that location of the city, particularly from large space users.

“i9 was always envisaged to satisfy that demand, but we are seeking a concept design that will demonstrate Wolverhampton can deliver a landmark office building of the utmost quality and is entirely appropriate to its important historic setting.

We want this building to become the design and quality benchmark for future developments in the city and to demonstrate our ambition for the city centre.

“This important site ideally lends itself to a distinctive, high-quality headquarters building. We know there are inquiries swirling around the market for that kind of building.”

Steve Parry, Managing Director of Neptune Developments, added: “The remarkable success of the i10 development has shown Wolverhampton can compete for and secure occupiers based upon a combination of high quality communications and excellent value.

“Taking forward i9 with an even greater emphasis on design quality will enable us to develop a unique and distinctive offer for larger space users – a building unique to Wolverhampton.”

MIPIM UK is the UK’s largest exhibition and conference for property professionals. It provides a market place for key UK figures and international investors to meet, discuss projects and opportunities, and do business.

The Olympia London National Hall event, which runs until Friday this week, will also see the council showcase the many development opportunities in Wolverhampton, as it builds on the £992 million investment on site or planned for the city centre.

The council hope to announce a scheme for i9 by the time of the international MIPIM property show, at Cannes, next March.