Conquering the West Midlands
A vision to build a branch of the ‘John Lewis Partnership’ in the West Midlands was first conceived at the end of the twentieth century. By the early months of 2000, work had begun on ‘John Lewis Solihull’ which was to be the anchor store in Touchwood, the shopping centre set to transform Solihull in autumn 2001. The cost of the new department store would be a meagre £40 million! This was the Partnership’s first foray into the West Midlands, and the Partnership were certainly aware that they needed to make a good impression. With this in mind, no expense was spared.
Total transformation of the town
The Partnership once again joined forces with Lend Lease, creators of the highly successful Bluewater project. Touchwood was an entirely different proposition, a shopping centre right in the middle of Solihull, with the aim of totally transforming the town. Showing a high regard for Solihull’s considerable history, the new centre was to be incorporated into the existing retail landscape. Upgrading and renovation of existing infrastructure and transport links was central to the overriding scheme. By March 2000, building work was well under way.