Up close & personal with James Roberts, centre manager of the Great Western Arcade
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
I’m James Roberts, centre manager at the Grade II listed Great Western Arcade – home to independent and award-winning retailers – located in the heart of the city.
HOW DO YOU GET INTO TOWN?
I live in a small village near Croome Estate in Worcestershire, so I travel by car daily.
HOW’S THE COMMUTE?
Unfortunately, my commute on the M5 is very long and slow, but it does mean I have the opportunity to listen to a few albums… or 10! I particularly enjoy listening to podcasts during my drive, but perhaps I should trade them for TED talks for some added inspiration.
IS BRUM A GOOD PLACE TO WORK IN?
Birmingham is a great city because of its ability to embrace change and diversity. The development over the last 15 years has been tremendous and has helped us craft a true hub of independent and specialist shops, which will only improve over the coming 12 months.
This is a tough one as I use so many coffee shops. My morning coffee is from one of my great tenants and for meetings,I like visiting the intimate Damascena due to its traditional middle eastern offering, which really makes it stand out from the crowd.
When it comes to lunchtime, my favourite sandwiches are freshly made from award-winning Anderson & Hill, or for a treat I opt for a big bowl of soup noodles at Min Min in China Town.
I tend to walk to the Jewellery Quarter or around the many development sites in the city – just to be nosey!
WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE CITY?
It has to be the Jewellery Quarter. After living there a few years ago it’s still a special place to me; great pubs and quiet, yet still close to the city centre.
I’m very fond of real ale, so you would most likely find me in Pure Bar or the Wellington.
HOW CAN THE CITY BE MADE BETTER?
I would like to see extra green space created in the city centre and additional outdoor seating for bars and coffee shops. It would be great to have more of a European vibe developed on New Street!