Andy Street highlights Christopher Wray redevelopment as shining example for preserving city's heritage

This article was published by Birmingham Post on the 19th June 2017.

The restoration of one of Birmingham’s oldest surviving houses, complete with a basement 'ruinpub' has received the thumbs up from the new West Midlands Mayor.

The 18th Century Christopher Wray building, a former lighting workshop, is being redeveloped as a student housing complex.

The Grade II listed building on Batholomew Row, near Millennium Point had been derelict since 2003. Set to open in September 2018 the complex will include shops, bars and restaurants, a basement ‘ruinpub’ and studio workshops as well as new 15 storey student apartment block.

Andy Street said: “Eastside is receiving a huge amount of attention and investment at the moment with HS2 set to arrive on the doorstep in the next ten years.

“That’s why I am particularly pleased to see the Christopher Wray site being saved. I think most Brummies will be familiar with this building and it’s been in a sorry state for many years now.

“I would like to congratulate everybody involved for a project which will not only be a valuable addition to the skyline in Birmingham, but also preserves an important part of our heritage.”

Heritage resotoration specialist Shaylor Group is working on the scheme and company chief executive Stephen Shaylor said: “It was a pleasure hosting Andy on site and walking through the project in these early stages.

“We are incredibly proud to be transforming a building with this much historical and local significance and were delighted when Andy expressed an interest in joining us on site.”

An eye catching part of the scheme is the ‘ruinpub’ to be based in the lower basement stamp room. The concept comes from Budapest where pubs, set up in derelict buildings, have proved popular.

The basement room will undergo minimal restoration and be decorated with Christopher Wray fixtures and memorabilia.

Plans for the redevelopment by C-zero came forward five years after an attempt to demolish the building was ruled out due to its historic status.

The arrival of the new Birmingham City University campus at Eastside and plans to regenerate Curzon Street around the new HS2 station made restoration of the building more affordable.