One Centenary Way completion marks major milestone for Paradise

Birmingham’s latest, and one of its largest contemporary commercial buildings, One Centenary Way, has reached its final construction milestone.

The building has reached Practical Completion (PC) this week, with contractor Sir Robert McAlpine handing the building over to developer and asset manager MEPC, ready for the occupier fit out phase of internal works.

Despite the challenges of the Covid pandemic and the complexity of the building’s location, directly above the live A38 Queensway tunnel in the heart of Birmingham, it has been constructed with minimal disruption and lost time over the past three years.

The 280,000 sq ft One Centenary Way is one of the city’s most sustainable buildings with a pure electric heating and hot water supply system and SMART access to services, information and facilities throughout its large, 22,000 sq ft floorplates. All of this combines to allow for extremely agile and spacious office layouts as well as highly sustainable new commercial space.

One Centenary Way also bookends Paradise and Centenary Square as a major new landmark for the city. Its sky lantern feature – launched just before Christmas 2022 – underlines this role and provides a major feature within the city centre with a 360-degree light display capable of changing through more than 1 million different colours.

The first major office letting for One Centenary Way was announced in 2021 when global employee-owned built environment consultancy Arup committed to 68,000 sq ft of space across three floors. Arup will be relocating its Midlands office and 1,000 staff to the building later in 2023 and has begun work on their fit out.

In another significant inward investment move, international investment bank Goldman Sachs cemented its commitment to Birmingham by selecting One Centenary Way at Paradise Birmingham to be the permanent home of its new UK base last year.
Its new office will occupy 110,000 sq ft of space across the top five floors of the building, including a roof terrace overlooking Centenary Square on the 12th floor. This move signified the largest commercial real estate deal in Birmingham of 2022 and a major coup for the city.

Rob Groves, regional development director at MEPC, the commercial property development and asset management arm of Federated Hermes, said: ‘The practical completion of One Centenary Way is another significant chapter in the story of Paradise and the city. It is a testament to the dedication and collaborative approach of the construction and design teams to deliver this complex new building with its exceptional SMART and sustainability credentials. The early success of the lettings only highlights that its exceptional quality has been recognised and endorsed by leading global businesses.’

‘As we continue to gather momentum around Paradise and build upon the huge progress we have made so far with Phase One and now the first building completing as part of Phase Two, we can look forward with confidence to further buildings and phases coming ahead. These include the world first pure Octagon residential tower which is starting to make its mark on the city’s skyline and the start of construction of the next commercial building, Three Chamberlain Square due to start on site later this year.’

Stuart Bale, Project Director at contractor Sir Robert McAlpine, said: ‘This project has been one all of us involved in are tremendously proud of. Since our involvement over the last 5 years we’ve collaborated and applied our knowledge and expertise to overcome one of the most complex sites in the city. With many bespoke challenges, the delivery of One Centenary Way is certainly a flagship scheme that takes its place as one of the very best buildings in the city. We would like to thank all of our trusted supply chain for their dedication and support in achieving this key milestone.’

Designed by Glenn Howells Architects with engineering input from Arup, One Centenary Way is a 68 metre tall, 13 storey commercial building with office uses as well as leisure, bar and restaurant uses on the ground floor.

Dav Bansal, Partner at Glenn Howells Architects said: ‘We are immensely proud of our work at Paradise and One Centenary Way is a significant part of that journey. A complex and challenging brief from the outset, this building represents the very best of collaborative working bringing together innovative engineering and design solutions to deliver a striking new landmark for the city that defines the next generation of sustainable workspace.’

The basement of the building will feature Birmingham’s first dedicated cycle hub with space for 330 bikes, showers, storage and maintenance facilities opening next year. A large gym and wellness centre is also planned for the lower ground floor, overlooking the new Western Terrace public realm being created as part of the next phase of development.

The building marks the first part of Phase Two of the ground-breaking, 2 million sq ft, £1.2 billion Paradise estate, a new destination at the heart of the city creating thousands of new jobs, new skills, new homes and amenities across up to ten buildings.

This includes the world record breaking Octagon residential tower at 49 storeys, or 155 metres tall, and the development’s multiple award-winning first two commercial buildings, One Chamberlain Square and Two Chamberlain Square, both of which face onto the city’s premier public space.

The first phase of the development also includes a number of high-quality leisure operators, namely Vinoteca and Rosa’s Thai at Two Chamberlain Square, and Dishoom and Albert’s Schloss at One Chamberlain Square.

As an important contributor to regional growth, Paradise is committed to creating high quality new pedestrian streets and squares for everyone to enjoy, as well as improving public transport links across the city. Early work on the access and transport links around Paradise were supported by Greater Birmingham Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP).

The Paradise redevelopment is being brought forward through Paradise Circus Limited Partnership (PCLP), a private-public joint venture with Birmingham City Council. The private sector funding is being managed by the international business of Federated Hermes, which has partnered with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments) on the first phase of the development and for One Centenary Way. MEPC is the development and asset manager.

Paradise sits in the country’s largest city centre Enterprise Zone and has already benefited from investment by the GBSLEP in enabling and infrastructure works.