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Plans for Brum's tallest office unveiled

By James Buckley - Monday, May 14, 2018 12:05

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Detailed plans for two further phases of a major urban regeneration scheme in the heart of Birmingham city centre have been unveiled.

With an estimated, overall development cost estimated at £158m, the mixed-use scheme will include the city’s tallest office building.

Developed by Salhia KSC, which is headquartered in Kuwait City, Beorma Quarter takes its name from the first settlement of Birmingham during the Anglo-Saxon period.

Phase I cost over £18m and is mostly completed. It combined refurbishment and new build, with much of the office space let to The Prince’s Trust.

The newly-announced Phases II and III will cost more than £140m and feature three new blocks including a 30-storey tower. Together, the overall mixed-use development will provide offices, residential, retail, restaurants, hotel plus a new landscaped piazza.

Construction on Phases II and III is expected to start later this year. Salhia is seeking pre-lets of the commercial office space and negotiations are in hand with several interested parties. No public funding is required since the scheme is entirely financed by Salhia.

Waheed Nazir, Corporate Director, Economy, at Birmingham City Council, said: “The city is experiencing unprecedented levels of growth which is set to continue over the next 15 years. With transformational projects such as HS2, Commonwealth Games and Smithfield coming forward and bringing new investment, jobs and homes to an expanding city centre, we have come a long way in realising our ambitions as set out in the Big City Plan.

I am delighted to see Phases II and III of the Beorma Quarter coming forward to provide good quality space to further enhance the city’s offer to relocating companies. Building on the success of recent relocations from major companies like HS2, HSBC and HMRC, it is clear that Birmingham is set to continue to be a hugely attractive place to invest and do business.”

The 2.25-acre site, in the Digbeth district of Birmingham, is next to the Bullring shopping centre, which has annual footfall of 36 million. Detailed planning consent was granted in August 2009 for all three phases to create in excess of 200,000 sq ft of Grade A office accommodation, over 170 luxury apartments plus private, rooftop garden terraces, 15,000 sq ft of retail and leisure space, set around Orwell Place, a new central plaza.

The 2009 consent was granted with full Council support and later improved with several subsequent detailed planning consents.

Abdulaziz Al-Nafisi, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Salhia, which is listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange, said: “We’ve been investing in UK property for over 20 years, including the redevelopment of Farnborough town centre in Hampshire, working with joint venture partners such as St. Modwen Properties. Beorma Quarter will be our first stand-alone, UK project.  With a focus on Birmingham because of HS2 and the Midlands Engine, we think the development will be a great addition to the city and further boost the local economy in the Digbeth district.”

A new public square, Orwell Place, will be created at ground level. Surrounded by shops, restaurants and cafés, the eye-catching, landscaped open space will create an appealing area for visitors during the day or for a memorable evening out.

Adjacent to the Grade II* listed, 19th century St Martin’s Church and public square, the development ambition of Beorma Quarter is to enhance, improve and connect to the existing environment. It will create a local landmark, improve the existing street frontages and enhance the city centre community. After many years of decline, Digbeth is regenerating with Beorma Quarter well located to lead the integration of the Victorian, industrial heritage into the modern-day city centre.

Much of Phase I is completed including the refurbishment of the listed Cold Store, originally built in 1899. This has mostly been let to The Prince’s Trust with 20,000 sq ft of modern, eye-catching offices on three upper floors plus a ground floor reception. This building neighbours the new-build, 108-room, 4-star Adagio aparthotel which was completed in summer, 2015.

The website for the scheme is at Letting agent for Beorma Quarter is the Birmingham office of Cushman & Wakefield. Architect is Broadway Malyan.

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