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Inside New Street Station & Grand Central

Home > Birmingham > Shopping Centres | Trains | Travel
by Simone Ribeiro (subscribe)
I am a Brazilian journalist based in Birmingham, UK. Visit my blog at http:// www.midlandstrade.co.uk
Published September 25th 2015
A look at the city's £750m investment


Like anyone else in town, during this week I walked around the New Street Station to see what this £750m investment brought for Birmingham.



While the (new) New Street Station was opened to the public last Sunday (September 20), The Grand Central and John Lewis were inaugurated just this Thursday (September 24).

The transformation outside and inside the station is really impressive. From the old station I remember a pub, some few coffee shops and a lack of light and space.


The new station features now 43 shops, together with the new Grand Central shopping complex, including one the largest John Lewis department stores in the UK.



It would be a bit silly to say that JUST a bit of retail therapy is difference in the New Street revamp. The Grand Central brought much more than many different establishments spread at all over the New Street Station.



It brought more than 1000 jobs to people in the city and it will certainly attract visitors from all over the country and abroad.
The station is certainly much more attractive, not just because the shopping itself.

It is easier to check the train timetables now and there is extra personnel dealing with the passengers enquires, everywhere you go.

However, I confess I expected a bit more refurbishment in the platforms because the usual commute queues and chaos waiting for the trains still is a huge concern.

Especially when we are about to face the Christmas soon, when much more people visit Birmingham because the German Market and the usual Christmas shopping in the Bull Ring and Grand Centre.

Inside John Lewis


But taking everything in account, I didn't see any problems during my visit to The Grand Central at the inauguration day. The shops and restaurants were packed as expected, but even John Lewis was coping well with the number of visitors.

I got a map from the shop and walking around was quite okay considering it was 5pm. A hush hour time for commuters and visitors.




It is also pretty clear that behind the success of a stunning new roof in the station and the John Lewis famous eye, there is much more to be offered to the city. It is now time to find out if the economic return expected with this giant investment will pay the price of this massive refurbishment.

Bits & bobs: I will be honest to say that some shops in the New Street, like Leon and Hema, certainly got my eyes. Hema is an international retail "collective" with shops in may countries of Europe such as Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Paperchase



It is also my dream shop where you can find (quality) bits and bobs for cheap price. It is perfect to be placed in New Street when you need some chocolate, candies, travelling accessories such as headphones and even a new suitcase. I love it!

My second passion is Leon . I confess I was counting the days to try their superfood (fast food) menu and not for my surprise, it was absolutely delicious.

The concept is pretty honest and simple: make fast food be good food. The flavours are all there. I do recommend get some take always on the way back home. It is just gorgeous super |(fast) food.

Paperchase is another great adding. I just love the shop and I can`t wait to spend some cash on bentos, notebooks and other paper stuff. And I still have 15% off to treat me. Result!

John Lewis : What you see is what you get. It is a temple of retail with prices that are not so inviting but there is always a sale after Christmas.

The fact is the New Street revamp ( more than necessary for commuters) and opening of Grand Central is really welcomed. It won`t change the fact the city has already great restaurants and really nice independent shops around. It just shows that Birmingham is always thinking big. And it is good.
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