Colmore BID Chair to stand down after 11 years leading Business Improvement District

07 November 2019

The Chair of Colmore Business District is to stand down after more than a decade leading the influential Business Improvement District.

High-profile property consultant Gary Cardin has chaired the BID since its inception in 2008, driving forward numerous projects and events to enhance the Colmore area of the city centre.

Colmore BID Vice Chair Nicola Fleet-Milne will take the role of Interim Chair until a successor to Mr Cardin is appointed from the BID’s Board of business and civic leaders. This is expected to take place in early in 2020.

Describing his role as ‘a privilege’ Mr Cardin said: “It’s been an honour to be a part of the BID from its inception into its third term.

“We’ve achieved well beyond the successes we thought possible. I leave the BID in the best shape possible for its continued and future success and for it to develop along with the city.”

Colmore Business District is considered the commercial heart of Birmingham with over 35,000 employees and five million square feet of office space. The BID works in partnership with Birmingham City Council on public realm projects and enhancement schemes for the District.

The BID hosts the Colmore Food Festival, which attracts more than 30,000 visitors each year, along with numerous arts exhibitions such as the award-winning Nicklin Unseen outdoor photography exhibition showing the work of Birmingham photographer Phyllis Nicklin.

The Safe and Sound Working Group delivers projects to keep those who work and visit the District safe and secure, day and night, with a Street Operations Team consisting of five Security Officers and one Ambassador.

Reflecting on the highlights of his time with Colmore BID, Mr Cardin cites ‘street intervention’ projects such as the creation of Church Street Square, a new space to stop and dwell in the heart of the District, delivered in partnership with Birmingham City Council.

“Very few BIDs get to do this sort of work, which is all about long-lasting enhancements to the public realm. We’ve achieved that with Church Street Square and Colmore Square,” he explains.

“Another thing I’m particularly proud of is the identity and brand of Colmore Business District. People have willingly adopted this because it’s something they believe stands for something.

“The Colmore area never had an identity before the BID and now we no longer have to push the name ‘Colmore Business District’, it is something companies do themselves with pride.

“You can’t buy that type of marketing. It’s through our businesses making it happen and adopting it. Giving this area its own identity is something we’ve tried to achieve since day one and the BID team should be immensely proud of how they’ve delivered this.”

Mr Cardin says Colmore BID’s approach to collaboration with partners such as Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Police, along with numerous private sector companies and charities such as SIFA Fireside, should be considered another success.

Colmore BID recently won Community Impact Award at the City of Birmingham Business Awards and Mr Cardin believes such recognition is down to the BID’s early work on the homelessness problem, which helped move this critical issue higher up the city council’s agenda.

“A collaborative approach is needed now more than ever. In challenging economic times the duty is on all agencies to work together to find creative solutions to issues that affect us all,” he said.

“Colmore BID is in a great place because it is working from a platform where there is an element of trust. All the bodies are prepared to listen, engage and try something.”

Mr Cardin adds that the appointment of Michele Wilby in 2009 as BID Director has been instrumental in delivering the board’s vision.

“The close working relationship between the Board and BID team has made for very professional and focused results for the BID. It’s not the role of the Chair to make things happen, it is Michele and her team who make these things happen,” he said.

“The Chair and Board are there to hold to account areas such as governance and – when we’re needed – to get things moving. Michele and the work of the BID team deserve recognition for their work delivering our projects and events.”