PwC in Midlands announces move to £500million Paradise scheme

The landmark One Chamberlain Square office building

Professional services firm PwC has confirmed it is to be the first business to sign up to Birmingham City Centre’s £500 million, transformational Paradise development – part of the UK’s biggest Enterprise Zone.

Supporting the Paradise vision of becoming the most important commercial development outside London, PwC has signed the pre-let agreement to relocate its 1,400-strong Birmingham team from Cornwall Court to 90,000 sq ft on the top four and a half floors of the landmark One Chamberlain Square office building, on a 20-year lease.

Designed by renowned award-winning architect Eric Parry, One Chamberlain Square will be a seven storey, premium quality office building with shops and restaurants on the ground floor. It will overlook the refurbished and enhanced Chamberlain Square, surrounded by some of the UK’s finest Victorian civic buildings – including Town Hall, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and Council House.

PwC will relocate to One Chamberlain Square in early 2019, in line with the conclusion of its existing Cornwall Court lease in Cornwall Street, Birmingham.

Matt Hammond, Regional Chairman of PwC in the Midlands, said: “One Chamberlain Square at Paradise was the natural choice for us. As part of Birmingham’s City Centre Enterprise Zone, the development is a key part of the city’s growth strategy to attract business and investors, create jobs and improve infrastructure.

“With its high quality office space and central location in the city’s newest development, it perfectly reflects the profile and professional requirements of PwC, while offering our staff, clients and visitors a truly first class working environment. We have worked extremely closely with the Paradise team to ensure One Chamberlain Square will deliver the very best space for our business going forward.”

The Paradise redevelopment is being brought forward through Paradise Circus Limited Partnership (PCLP), a private-public joint venture with Birmingham City Council, with the private sector funding being managed by Hermes Investment Management, the £23 billion manager focused on delivering superior, sustainable, risk adjusted returns to its clients – responsibly.  Hermes Investment Management has also partnered with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), a professional investment management organisation that invests on behalf of 19 million Canada Pension Plan contributors and beneficiaries, on the first phase of the development. Argent is acting as development manager.

Argent, development manager for Paradise, gained planning approval last autumn for the detailed design of the first two speculative buildings and enhanced public realm with a new pedestrian street linking the upgraded Chamberlain Square to Centenary Square. Construction of the 172,000 sq ft One Chamberlain Square and 184,000 sq ft Two Chamberlain Square buildings will start on site in the Summer, following the demolition of the old library which started in December 2015 and is already transforming the city’s skyline.

Regional Director of Argent, Rob Groves, said: “As the vision to create the city’s premier business address at Paradise begins to take shape, there could be no better endorsement than PwC’s announcement to be the first tenant. Its decision reflects the current momentum behind the scheme and the recognition of Paradise as Birmingham’s exemplar commercial development.

“We are confident that Paradise will continue to draw significant interest from other professional and financial services organisations attracted by its exceptional location and significant civic context.”

Chris Taylor, Head of Private Markets at Hermes Investment Management, commented: “The Paradise scheme is of pivotal importance to Birmingham as the future financial heart of the city. It therefore comes as no surprise to see a global company with the stature of PwC sign up for a move to Paradise.

“The comprehensive placemaking initiative we are undertaking at Paradise, in partnership with Birmingham City Council, will transform the public realm around this commanding area of the city in line with its rich culture and history and deliver a sustainable development with strategic economic and social importance to the region. PwC’s early commitment is testament to the great work already undertaken and a seal of approval for the future success of the scheme.”

Cllr John Clancy, Leader of Birmingham City Council added: “Paradise is set to bring thousands of jobs, massive improvements and significant investment to the city centre over the coming years, and PwC’s commitment to move its Birmingham presence here only emphasises the strategic importance of the Paradise scheme in the city’s commercial future.

“Investment in the city by Deutsche Bank and HSBC’s recent commitment clearly indicate the great attractiveness of Birmingham as a business destination. The city’s unrivalled transport links and reasonable business costs make it a prime location for national and international businesses seeking the very best office space in the UK, and Paradise, as part of the City Centre Enterprise Zone, will play a leading part in this.”

The enabling and infrastructure works, currently underway, have been funded through an approved £61m investment by the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP).

Construction of One Chamberlain Square will begin shortly, with completion expected in autumn 2018.  The public realm enhancements to Chamberlain Square will also be implemented during this period and the second speculative office building, Two Chamberlain Square designed by Birmingham’s Glenn Howells Architects will complete in late 2019.

PwC has been advised by CBRE with PCLP represented by Bilfinger GVA.

Squire Patton Boggs and Berwin Leighton Paisner are acting for PwC and PCLP respectively.