National Exhibition Centre
The National Exhibition Centre (NEC) is an exhibition centre located in Solihull, England. It is near junction 6 of the M42 motorway, and is adjacent to Birmingham Airport and Birmingham International railway station. It was opened by the Queen in 1976.
|National Exhibition Centre|
The main entrance to the NEC (July 2015)
|Location||National Exhibition Centre|
B40 1NT, West Midlands
|Owner||The Blackstone Group (since 2018)|
|Built||16 February 1973 to 1976|
|Opened||2 February 1976|
|Expanded||1980, 1989, 1993, 1998|
|15,683 (Resorts World Arena)|
|• Exhibit hall floor||190,000 m2 (2,000,000 sq ft)|
|Public transit access||Birmingham International railway station|
The NEC was originally going to be built adjacent to the M1 motorway (junction 21) near Leicester but it was turned down by Leicestershire County Council with claims that "The big shows won't move away from London". The building was designed by Edward Mills.
In November 1971, the Secretary of State for the Environment granted outline planning approval for the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. On 16 February 1973, then Prime Minister Edward Heath travelled up from London to cut a white ribbon and initiate its construction. The NEC was opened by the Queen on 2 February 1976.
Expansion of the complexEdit
On 23 March 1989, the Queen opened three new halls. Four more halls were added in 1993, and another four new halls, designed by Seymour Harris and built by John Laing, were completed in January 1998.
A five-year, £40 million venue improvement programme which saw improvements made to everything from the car parking to signage, seating and catering was carried out between 2006 and 2011.
The NEC has 20 interconnected halls covering 190,000 m2 (2,000,000 sq ft) of floor space. Regular exhibitions in the past have included the British International Motor Show and the international dog show Crufts.
The NEC has 16,500 parking spaces spread around the site, with a shuttle bus service operating to and from the car parks. In 2020 the all-day parking fee for public exhibitions is £16.00.
Parent company the NEC Group also owns and operates the Arena Birmingham and ICC Birmingham, both in central Birmingham, and the Resorts World Arena, based on The NEC site. Birmingham City Council placed the NEC Group up for sale in 2014. After short-listing three contenders to purchase the company, the sale to Lloyds Development Capital, the private equity unit of Lloyds Banking Group, was completed in January 2015 for £307 million. In October 2018, Blackstone acquired NEC Group from Lloyds Development Capital, paying around £800 million for the group.
It was announced in March 2020 that the Centre is to become an emergency hospital for COVID-19 patients, part of a network of NHS Nightingale Hospitals similar to the NHS Nightingale Hospital London already under construction in London.
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- "Car Parking". thenec.co.uk.
- Griffin, Jon (14 January 2015). "NEC Group Set to Be Sold for Price Tag Up to PS300m". Birmingham Mail – via HighBeam (subscription required). Archived from the original on 31 March 2017. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
- Morris, Steven (5 March 2014). "Birmingham city council to sell National Exhibition Centre". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
- "NEC group sold off in £307m deal". BBC News. 16 January 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
- "NEC Group sold 'for £800m'". BBC News. 15 October 2018. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
- "Coronavirus: Birmingham and Manchester temporary hospitals announced". BBC News. 27 March 2020.
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