GVA completes sale of Birmingham Assay Office

GVA, the UK’s leading independent property adviser, has completed the unconditional freehold sale of Birmingham’s landmark Assay Office building, shortly after bringing it to market.

The Grade II listed building, situated on Newhall Street in the city’s Jewellery Quarter, has been purchased by developer TCN UK.

Specialising in the delivery of creative, unique and innovative workspaces geared towards smaller occupiers, TCN UK was launched in the UK in 2006 and has already seen considerable success with schemes such as Piano House in Brixton and Bristol’s Temple Studios.

Mark Birks, Director at GVA, said: “The sale of this building is a clear and encouraging sign of improving confidence in the regional property sector, particularly from inward investors such as TCN UK.

“Judging from its track-record of developing unique spaces that appeal to small flexible occupiers, I am sure that TCN UK will create an outstanding addition to the fabric of Birmingham city centre.”

While at an early stage, the proposed outline plans for the mixed-use development – incorporating the adjacent car park – will seek to retain where possible the character of the original buildings.

Richard Pearce, TCN UK, said:  “While we have seen considerable interest in our developments in locations such as London and Bristol, this is our first step into Birmingham’s property market and I am genuinely delighted to have secured such an incredible period building.

“This acquisition is part of our ongoing strategy to identify key regional sites that have great access to London.  Birmingham’s rapidly maturing digital and technological sector is also a great draw for us as we have found that they are ideal occupiers for this kind of space.”

Established in 1773 by an act of Parliament, the Birmingham Assay Office – one of only four in the country – employs around 150 staff to test, verify and hallmark several million articles of precious metal each year.

The sale of the Newhall Street building clears the way for the Assay Office to relocate to a purpose-built headquarters in the Jewellery Quarter, which will be completed and ready for occupancy in 2015.

Stella Layton, Chief Executive and Assay Master at the Birmingham Assay Office, said: “This building holds significant historical interest however these premises no longer provide the flexibility required to meet the growth in the UK jewellery market that we have seen in the last few years.

“With its track record of office conversions that remain sympathetic to the surroundings, we are confident that TCN UK are the right people to take this much loved landmark building and create something that will continue to see it used.

“The completion of our new building on Icknield Street will allow our business to continue to diversify our range of services and will host our heritage collection, making it more readily accessible to members of the public.”