The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress Gregory were invited to tour Midlands Industrial Association’s commercial properties in the Jewellery Quarter on 10th February 2011 and to meet some of the tenants who are benefitting from the Association’s easy-in, easy-out monthly licence agreements.
MIA is a Registered Friendly Society that was established in 1982 and its raison d’être is two main objectives, to promote employment and fight dereliction through the growth of the small firm’s sector by providing suitable workspace through the refurbishment of redundant buildings and the reclamation of derelict inner brown field sites in inner city areas. This helps to reduce unemployment by promoting a key element of our economy, the growth and safeguarding of new business.
What marks out MIA from other developers is its registered friendly society status, and as such the Association does not distribute dividends to its shareholders, and its directors are volunteers. This makes more funds available for reinvestment than traditional private sector companies and instead all of its surpluses are reinvested to provide more workspace, regenerate more brown field sites and breathe new life into derelict buildings.
The Association offers offices, workshops and storage units to tenants on a monthly licence without the need to provide security or prove credit worthiness. This provides the opportunity to new and small businesses to occupy premises they may not be able to obtain from commercial organisations and without the usual risks associated with leasehold tenancies.
“As an example the site that we find ourselves standing on today, was only a short while ago, a collection of ragged derelict sheds. We are doubly pleased with this new addition of the Albert Wing to our existing and long established site The Argent Centre, the Jewellery Quarters Gem, because it achieves both of our main objectives; to provide ‘state of the art’ space for fledgling businesses and; as you will have seen when you approached us along the mainly derelict Legge Lane, it satisfies our objective to remove dereliction by redeveloping brown field sites in the inner City. Of our current buildings the Telsen Industrial Centre in Aston was the first to be developed. This building was built as a radio component factory in 1934 and subsequently had many uses including a barrel store for Ansells Brewery. It fell into decline and following MIA and the City’s intervention a mixture of 91 units for industrial and commercial purposes were created. There are currently 40 businesses in the building. The next building was Jubilee Centre in the markets area. Owned by Gooch Estates and leased to MIA originally via Birmingham City Council. The derelict telephone factory homes 310 tenants including 25 artists and an art gallery.”
“The Grade II* listed Argent Centre followed. Originally a pen factory built by Joseph Wiley in 1860. Prior to MIA taking over the building it was being used by Fisons for the storage of bagged fertilisers. On the site there are now 23 businesses. The Association then agreed a long lease on the Landmark Grade II* listed The Chubb Building from Wolverhampton MBC. The building was converted into a media centre with a bar, restaurant and two screen cinema as well as 39 offices all bar one being currently let.”
Next came the refurbishment of 57 Frederick Street. A small building that had remained derelict for over 25 years and a blight on the streetscape of Frederick Street. The building houses 9 businesses.”
“This brings us up to date with the erection of MIA’s first new build project Phase I. The Albert Wing our second new build which was partly funded by Advantage West Midlands. In summary, within our buildings are housed 160 businesses with an estimated 1,300 people employed. MIA is run on tight commercial lines and currently has a strong balance sheet. This will help us to achieve future projects with the support of the Council.”