A MAJOR deal has been signed by Solihull Council and the owners of Touchwood, Lend Lease, to expand the award-shopping centre.
The Observer exclusively revealed the plans in March 2013.
But now a Development Agreement has officially been signed, paving the way for 115,000 sq ft of new retail and restaurant space for the shopping centre which will see the creation of 25 new units.
The development – set to open in Spring 2018 – will see the current Council House (Orchard House) demolished to pave the way for the extension.
Council staff will be moved to neighbouring Church Hill House, which will undergo a revamp as part of the deal.
The eagerly-anticipated expansion will create 400 permanent new jobs and around 500 construction jobs during the build process.
Commenting on the announcement, Bob Sleigh, Leader of Solihull Council, said: “The signing of the Development Agreement with Lend Lease is another historic moment in the growth of Solihull.
“This next phase of Touchwood will underline the borough’s reputation as a thriving place in which to live, work, visit, do business and shop.
“Touchwood is an unrivalled success and this next phase promises a very positive future for the centre and Solihull alike.”
Alexandra Brown, Senior Development Manager at Lend Lease, added: “The signing of the Development Agreement with the Council is a key step in turning our shared vision into a reality.
“Over the coming months, we will be developing our proposals with the Council ahead of submitting an application next year.
“This process will include consultation with the community to ensure what is created reflects their aspirations for Solihull.”
The announcement follows a successful September for Touchwood, with overall sales up by 4.2 per cent in September compared to the same time last year.