Reactivating Retail Space

Across the country, cities and towns are experiencing challenges with empty retail premises. It’s nothing new, pre Covid-19 it was high on the agenda for many councils, BIDs and shopping centre owners, however sometimes there are factors which prevent the units coming back to use as quickly as we would hope.

This could be due to landlords, agents, the condition of the property or just the fact that there is little demand. But the issue is how do you drive that demand? High rents and rates are just no longer feasible in some areas.

Back in 2012, the BID set-up a window dressing competition, offering the chance for local artists to display their creations in a various windows across the city centre, it was successful and brightened up units that were difficult to let. See more here

Due to the challenges of Covid-19 on the retail sector, change is urgently needed and we are on the search for new ideas on how we can reactivate vacant spaces, make them more attractive and talk to landlords on how we can all work together to make the city centre look better.

Therefore we want to ask creatives, artists, start-ups, young entrepreneurs and people that have great ideas for bringing units back into use or dressing the frontages so that they become an attractive part of the public realm again. Nothing is off limits at this stage, it doesn’t have to be retail either!

There’s no promise of funding to do any of this, but armed with your ideas Retail BID will move forward to talk to property owners, agents and the local authority to see how we can make it a better place together. Who knows what opportunities it could open up?

If you have a good idea, either with or without funding, or have identified a vacant space in Birmingham City Centre that you think could be great again, please get in touch at and mark your email as ‘Retail Space’.