National Exhibition Centre unveils ambitious redevelopment of NEC Campus

The NEC Group today launched the new NEC Masterplan for the NEC Campus, the site currently home to the UK’s largest exhibition venue, the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), the Vox Conference Venue, Resorts World Arena, Resorts World Birmingham, The Bear Grylls Adventure and a number of hotels.

The redevelopment plan will transform over 27 hectares of surface level car parking and surplus land, to create new residential, office, leisure and community spaces. Overall, the plans are set to create:

  • 14,000m2 of new outdoor event space
  • 35,000m2 of new commercial space
  • A new hotel
  • New restaurants and cafes
  • An estimated 3,500 new local jobs
  • 5,000 new homes
  • A new primary school
  • A greener and more sustainable environment on the NEC Campus

A greater local community will evolve with the development of a new urban village of 5,000 homes, located in the north of the site. This will establish an inclusive, diverse and prosperous community for over 11,000 people.

Located at the heart of the UK’s transport network, with access to road, rail and air travel, the area has exceptional local, national and international connectivity. The NEC Masterplan will enhance this further by connecting the development to the High Speed 2 Interchange Station, the first HS2 stop outside London. Alighting from a 38-minute journey from England’s capital, passengers will be able to travel to the NEC Campus via a short, four-minute shuttle via an automated people mover over Pendigo Lake.

Redevelopment plan

A new grand plaza and urban boulevard will be introduced, to further promote a lively and attractive environment within the NEC Campus for conferencing and exhibitions.

The grand plaza will redefine the area surrounding the NEC’s Atrium halls, enhancing the NEC visitor and organiser experience with 14,000m2 of new outdoor event space, ready to host a wide range of events. Cafes, restaurants and a new hotel will service the new plaza, to create a hub of activity for visitors. An enhanced drop off and welcome zone will also provide a more streamlined visitor experience.

Connecting the site with Arden Cross and the HS2 Interchange Station, the urban boulevard will extend an inspirational pedestrian focused public realm from the NEC Piazza to a new bridge link over the M42. The urban boulevard will host a series of commercial buildings with ground floor retail and leisure space.

Maintaining operational access and car parking for events at the NEC will be an essential part of the overall development plan for the site. Residential access will be separated from logistics and visitor traffic and ample parking provisions will be maintained to ensure the venue can continue to service the busiest of events. In addition to the retention of many areas of surface level parking, future multi-storey car parks will enhance accessibility for visitors.

Sustainable development

Central to the Masterplan are sustainable development principles promoting positive social, economic and environmental outcomes from future development. Site specific sustainability interventions will support climate change and clean air initiatives.

The NEC is owned by The Blackstone Group, one of the world’s leading investment firms.

Lionel Assant, European Head of Private Equity at Blackstone, said:

This is brilliant news for the West Midlands. We are proud of our partnership with the NEC Group, and today’s announcement shows the positive impact this business has for local job creation and urban regeneration.

NEC Group CEO, Paul Thandi, said:

The NEC Campus is home to one of the top exhibition venues and arenas in Europe, and together with existing partners, we have long held ambitions to create a competitive destination to work, rest, live and play. These partners have seen the potential of the site and now will help us drive further investment and prosperity to the region. Now is the time to be bold and ambitious about the future and harness the power of the real estate we have to offer, whilst simultaneously maximising the benefits of having a young, diverse and entrepreneurial population. 

The NEC Campus sits within a major engine of economic growth in the UK, recognised as one of the best-connected development zones in Europe. This Masterplan unites corporate ambition with global purpose, setting out our vision whilst considering eco and socially responsible practices. The NEC Group is committed to working in partnership with our landowners Birmingham City Council, to unlock the full and exciting potential of the site.


The new NEC Masterplan will transform over 27 hectares of surface level car parking and surplus land, to create new residential, office, leisure and community spaces. Imagery, courtesy: The NEC Group


Leader of Birmingham City Council, Councillor Ian Ward, which owns the land the NEC Campus is situated on, added:

This is an exciting moment for Birmingham and the wider West Midlands, as this transformational Masterplan is published. Birmingham is attracting record levels of investment, and the NEC Masterplan is testament to that.

Over the coming years this project will provide much-needed new homes and high-quality jobs for people from our region and I encourage people to make their thoughts known through the public consultation.

I believe that we are at the beginning of a Golden Decade for Birmingham, with the Commonwealth Games taking place next year, and the arrival of HS2. The NEC Masterplan will connect the site with Arden Cross and the High Speed 2 Interchange, which together will transform this area, creating thousands of jobs and build thousands of homes.

Leader of Solihull Council, Councillor Ian Courts, said:

The Masterplan unveiled today sets out a bold and ambitious vision for the future of the NEC Campus in Solihull.
By utilising brownfield land the plans provide additional housing to meet the growing local demand without sacrificing our precious greenbelt. The proposed developments will not only bring much needed new homes but will see thousands of new jobs created, and further enhance the already unmatched overall destination offer found here.
Located at the heart of the UK Central Solihull Hub Area, the NEC is already one of the best-connected sites in Europe. This ambitious Masterplan looks to further capitalise on this position and maximise the economic benefits associated with the arrival of HS2 for both Solihull and the wider region.

The Masterplan will be subject to a six-week period of public consultation running from 10th November 2021 to 24th December 2021. Following public consultation, the plan will be updated in response to comments and feedback. Following publication of the final Masterplan, the process to select a development partner for the first phase of the urban village will commence.


Guy Dunstan, Managing Director – Ticketing & Arenas, The NEC Group, joined the above panel session at the 2021 edition of ALSD International


To download the full NEC Masterplan and Masterplan Sustainability Strategy, visit:


ALSD International delivers an annual conference & exhibition, as well as a 365 community, with a focus on increasing revenue through New Builds, Renovations & Service Expansions, via innovations in niches including Premium Seating & Hospitality, Architecture & Design, Fan Experience, Rebuilding & Recovery, and Technology. 

The 2021 hybrid edition was hosted by Liverpool Football Club and featured a high-level conference, an exhibition hall that showcased industry-leading products, services & solutions, as well as networking events at Everton’s Goodison Park and M&S Bank Arena. The 2022 event will be announced in the coming weeks!

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