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BRUM'S TOWERING AMBITION

13-09-2007

vtp200

Excuse our breathless enthusiasm, but we've just seen the presentation for the VTP 200 - the most eye-catching building in Birmingham for years. And yes, it's got us excited. See for yourself why it's got us all aquiver, click here

The developers of the VTP 200 - Warwickshire-based Pettifer Estates - are calling it the world's first Vertiplex.

One casual observer described it as "Drayton Manor in the sky" but that doesn't do justice the scale of the vision for this landmark tower, which -all assuming it gets planning permission - would sit next to Thinktank at Millennium Point.

Yes, it would partly be a theme park, but of a kind we've never seen in the Second City before.

There'll be a lift that suddenly drops 95 feet; a giant see saw 125 feet up which lurches you over the edge of the building at a scarifying 35 degree angle; a walk of fear around the rim without railings and secured only by a harness.

And that's without mentioning the Flight Trainers, Sky Jumps and revolving Gyro Tower.

Operations Director Richard Pawley (who, as it happens, used to run Drayton Manor) say his inspiration for these rides was blockbuster movies.

"I want to bring the sense of 'Top Gun' and the Bond movies to Birmingham" he says. And if he delivers on his vision, that's exactly what he'll do.

Although there are buildings with some similarities in Las Vegas (The Stratosphere) and Macau, the boast is that this will be the first purpose-built visitor attraction of its kind - with expectations that more than 1 million visitors will come in the first year.

We can believe it.

Instead of copying other cities (ooh, London's got a big wheel, why can't we have one?) this would certainly be unique attraction in European terms, giving Birmingham's renaissance the impetus it needs to move to the next phase.

It's proposed location (on the current Thinktank car park) would bring much needed life to the still under-energised Eastside area, and with proposals for a 250 room hotel at the base would contribute to the night-time economy too.

For good measure, it would have a "green" roof and wall promoting biodiversity, 70% of the building materials will be sourced in the West Midlands, and the most of the jobs created during and after construction will go to local people.

Oh, and did I mention that there it won't cost a penny of public money, with £95 million of investment coming form private sources.

As you might have guessed, we're impressed.

Plans and a scale model of the building can be seen in a Public Exhibition at Millennium Point from Saturday 15th- Saturday 22nd September. It will go forward for planning approval later in the year. For more information go to www.VTP200.com

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