The Stephenson Tower has finally disappeared from Birmingham’s city skyline.
The demolition of the 22 storey 1960s residential tower block is the first stage towards the construction of the new John Lewis department store which gets underway later in the spring.
Sitting above Platform 12 of New Street station, in the heart of the city centre, demolishing the building via controlled explosion was never an option. The tower was encapsulated in a protective wrap and taken down piece by piece. Around 7,000 tonnes of concrete was removed from the building, 95% of which will be recycled.
Says Chris Montgomery, Network Rail project director, ‘The redevelopment of New Street will deliver a fantastic new station for passengers with more space, better access and better facilities.
‘The project also delivers economic benefits and the successful demolition of Stephenson Tower is another step forward in our plans for a new look Pallasades and John Lewis department store that will create jobs and help regeneration in Birmingham city centre.’
The redeveloped Pallasades centre and new John Lewis will open in autumn 2014 with the station redevelopment completing in 2015. Says Centro chairman, Angus Adams, ‘The disappearance of the tower is the first major sign of the enormous amount of work that’s been going on at New Street; it’s just that most of it has, until now, been inside and hidden from view.
‘That work will now become increasingly visible as we move forward on building a station that passengers and the West Midlands as a whole can be proud of.’
New Street station will remain open to passengers throughout the project with passengers noticing the first major changes to their journey at the end of this year when the first half of the new station concourse opens over Christmas 2012.