Birmingham City Council named Lendlease as principal contractor in November 2018 for a (then) £370m scheme to build accommodation for 6,500 athletes and officials for the 2022 Commonwealth Games and then reconfigure the site afterwards to create 1,400 new homes as the legacy of the games.
The rise of the Covid-19 virus has forced the games organisers to conclude that they would not be able to get the athlete’s village finished in time.
Birmingham City Council said that it would still proceed with the permanent housing planned for the original village site, where Birmingham City University once stood in Perry Barr. But with the games plan changed, the rush for the council’s Perry Bar regeneration scheme becomes less pressing.
In other words, Lendlease is moving ‘straight to legacy’, the council said.
Instead of having new purpose-built facilities, Commonwealth Games participants will be housed at the University of Birmingham and the University of Warwick, with some at the NEC Hotel Campus. The new three-site campus model for Birmingham 2022 athlete accommodation also means that the overall games budget of £778m will not be bust, the organisers said.
Ian Reid, chief executive of Birmingham 2022, said: "These are challenging times for all of us and delivering a major multi sports event during this period has meant we have needed to collaborate effectively, be pragmatic to change, and remain realistic about the challenges we face.
"We recognise that this new model is a move away from the historic norm and we are grateful for the support shown by our partners across the Commonwealth Games associations.
"Birmingham and the West Midlands is extremely fortunate to have superb alternate facilities and we are making this decision now, with two years to go, to de-risk the project, ensure delivery for athletes and teams and secure the legacy of new housing and transport infrastructure in Perry Barr.
"This is the sensible and pragmatic thing to do for the Games, the athletes and for the people of Birmingham. It enables Birmingham City Council to focus on the delivery of the Perry Barr Regeneration Scheme and gives us enough time to plan essential Games services like transport and security. Furthermore, it offers athletes and teams the assurance of a warm welcome and a superb Games experience in their homes-from-home across the West Midlands."
Birmingham City Council leader Ian Ward said: "The key physical legacy from Birmingham 2022 is a regenerated Perry Barr – and by working closely with our Games Partners that is absolutely secure going forward.
"Work to deliver housing which is currently ongoing will continue in the months and years to come as part of the wider plan to deliver 5,000 much needed homes for people in this area of the city.
"The fact we are moving straight to legacy on the residential scheme gives the council and its partners a chance to review the longer-term plans for homes in Perry Barr, to ensure they best meet the needs of local people.”