I applaud everyone who took part in designing and constructing this beast, it's just the greatest. Now we've done the aaah-ing and wow-ing, here are my 10 first impressions on the complex as a whole:
✓ It's so spacious! Pardon my French but the old Pallasades looked like a bloody socialist parking lot. The new Grand Central is so bright and roomy you will never be forced to shuffle behind a crowd of fellow commuters again.
✓ The roof is absolutely stunning - I mean, the roof is Grand Central. They obviously went for super modernist, one would say almost extraterrestrial which is always quite brave when it comes to frequently used spaces like this but I do have to say they nailed it. The roof of Grand Central rocks.
✓ Always check the toilets. They are swanky. I approve.
✓ Grand Central literally brings the city together. It creates this awesome corridor between all Birmingham's shopping avenues. A 3 minute walk from the Mailbox, straight into Grand Central - all the way through to TK Maxx and you're in Bullring and Selfridges. Another 3 minute walk and you're in the Custard Factory for some independent retail experience. Genius.
✓ Grand Central houses some hard-to-find (usually only-in-London) brands such as Foyles (the prettiest selection of books), Steel & Jelly (your modern day gentleman's attire) and Tapas Revolution (for a Spanish snack or two).
✓ It's open until late (most places shut at 8pm). Bingo!
✓ The close proximity to the train station is ingenious. Waiting for the train? Well, why wouldn't you pop into Tiger or have a little burrito?
✓ The food court is not just your ol' boring food court you were used to from places such as Pavillions. Each eating outlet has it's own seating area which gives you the 'restaurant' feel without being enclosed within four walls.
✓ Tiger. Have I mentioned they have Tiger? Yeah, they have Tiger there. Right at the old Pallasades entrance. Just saying.
✓ To bring the quintessential Britishness into play you can also find John Lewis adjacent to Grand Central. And it has 4 floors. Jesus.
Have you been to Grand Central yet?
What are your initial thoughts on the beast?