Rockspring Property Investment Managers LLP (Rockspring) has received planning permission to build Birmingham’s tallest office tower at 103 Colmore Row, with development partner Sterling Property Ventures (Sterling).
Birmingham City Council has given Rockspring the go-ahead to demolish the 22-storey, 1970s-built NatWest Tower, which has been unoccupied since 2003, and replace it with a new £60 million 26-storey landmark building.
Planning committee members unanimously approved the scheme, describing it as “welcome”, “imaginative”, a “stunning addition” to the skyline and a “strong statement.”
At 105.5 metres (346 feet) high and with the apex to stand 246 metres above sea level, the new tower will be the tallest office building under construction in the UK outside London. Designed by Doone Silver Architects, an international practice with a strong track record in designing award-winning skyscrapers, it will comprise 200,000 sq ft of Grade A office space over 19 floors with floorplates of up to 12,000 sq ft.
At street level, plans include a winter garden, a café facing Colmore Row and a retail unit fronting Newhall Street. At the top of the building there is provision for a
8,600 sq ft restaurant with a 3,250 sq ft ‘lantern’ space offering 360-degree views of the city.
Eric Linden, European Director at Rockspring, said:
“We have been encouraged by the support for our plans for this landmark development, from the people of Birmingham and potential occupiers, as well as from the City Council and other stakeholders. Rockspring is pleased to be playing such a significant role in the improvement of this prime area of Birmingham, a city we view as a strengthening target for regional investment in the UK and where there is significant demand for quality, modern office space.”
Peter Graham, construction director at Sterling, said:
“We’re very pleased that Birmingham City Council has acknowledged our unwavering commitment to this project and this great city. It means we can now move this project off the drawing board and on to site, replacing an outdated, inefficient building with a modern, landmark office development that Birmingham can be proud of.”
Demolition contractors H Smith (Engineers) Ltd have been on site since mid July, stripping out the building’s interior. Scaffolding is now being erected to allow for the floor-by-floor dismantling of the concrete tower, which will take around 12 months. The two-storey former banking hall fronting Colmore Row is scheduled to be removed by November this year.
Work on erecting the new tower will begin in summer 2016, creating five hundred construction jobs and completion is targeted for summer 2018.
Short-term road closures of two to three days will be required to allow for the delivery and dismantling of heavy-duty equipment, such as a tower crane. However, these will be largely take place over weekends, and every effort will be made to keep disruption in the city’s business district to a minimum.
The permission to build the new tower is subject to certain standard conditions and includes a contribution of circa £265,000 to fund local transport work and employment training.
Peter Graham said:
“The planning approval is subject to conditions, including section 106 obligations and the submission of detailed design plans. These are not unusual or onerous in any way so will not delay our programme.”
In addition to Doone Silver, Rockspring and Sterling’s professional team includes planning advisers GW Planning Ltd; project managers Quantem Consulting LLP; structural engineers Davies Maguire & Whitby; mechanical and engineering consultants Watkins Payne and landscape designers Robert Townshend.
Letting agents on the office space are Colliers International, DTZ and Knight Frank.