No sign of slowdown in interest in Birmingham real estate, region’s property professionals told

The annual Lodders Solicitors Property Seminar held at Henley in Arden Golf Club. (l-r) Paul Mourton (Lodders), David Penn, Alastair Frew (Lodders), Tom Bromwich, Jane Senior (Lodders), Mark Lee and George Campion (Lodders).

Momentum in interest in Birmingham from national and international investors and organisations, as a place from which to do business is unlikely to slow ‘anytime soon’, according to an expert speaking at an event for the region’s property professionals.

At this year’s annual Property Seminar, hosted by regional law firm Lodders, Mark Lee, Chief Executive of Calthorpe Estates in Edgbaston, said that Birmingham is attracting significant interest from investors outside of the region and the UK, with confidence and optimism levels amongst Birmingham’s business and real estate sectors higher than in other major cities across the UK.

Calthorpe Estates, one of Birmingham’s longest established land owning and estate management companies, is a 300-year-old family-owned company with a primary focus on creating thriving communities within its 1600-acre mixed use estate.

“Investment opportunities and activity in the property and real estate sectors always operates on a cycle,” explained Mark Lee, keynote speaker at the event, “and whilst residential land prices are coming off recent peaks and office investment activity across the UK has dipped this year, demand for business and commercial premises across Calthorpe remains high, and we expect to see significant new office lease commitments in Birmingham between now and mid-2017.”

Mark Lee’s vision for the Calthorpe Estate and its clusters in healthcare, life sciences and communities – the Edgbaston Medical Quarter, Edgbaston Village and Edgbaston Commercial area – is well underway. In 2012, the Medical Quarter accounted for 14% of its portfolio, and the aim is to grow this to 20% by 2021, explained Mark, when it will become a ‘real alternative’ to London’s medical district in Harley Street.

By continually adding value to the cluster by creating opportunities within healthcare and life sciences, Calthorpe’s Medical Quarter is quickly establishing itself as a ‘pillar of growth’ in the West and wider Midlands, with Edgbaston the ‘logical place’ for a medical and Life Science cluster, said Mark Lee.

Over 100 property developers, housebuilders, land and real estate professionals attended the 2016 Lodders Property Seminar, which is one of the region’s longest-running and most popular property sector events.

Now in its tenth year, the 2016 event represented ‘an illustrious cross section of the West Midlands’ property sector’, according to Lodders’ non-executive chairman, George Campion, in his welcome speech at the event.

Joining Mark Lee on the event’s expert speaker panel that explored the current and projected state of the West Midlands’ residential and commercial property sectors and its key and emerging areas across the region, were Tom Bromwich and David Penn, partners of chartered surveyors and commercial property advisors Bromwich Hardy.

They gave an overview of the Coventry and Warwickshire Commercial Property market, a summary of the employment land shortage in the region, and the need for Government, Local Authorities and other Stakeholders to promote and release more land for commercial development in order to stimulate growth and drive the economy.

As part of this overview of the current property market and lack of supply of land to meet industrial, retail and residential property and development demands in Coventry and Warwickshire, they voiced their concerns and frustrations about what is holding back the area’s growth:

“The current market opportunities in Coventry and its surrounding area, are unprecedented,” said David Penn, “but with rising construction costs, high land values, planning beaurocracy, and the severe lack of employment land currently allocated, there is real doubt whether these will ever be addressed or realised.

“Changes including boundary reallocations, releasing land for development, scrapping certain areas of greenbelt, and giving the much-need gateway at Ansty the green light, will collectively revolutionise the area and help make the potential a reality.”

Lodders’ head of Real Estate Paul Mourton, delivered an overview of the highlights for the team over the last 12-months, and its significant growth since 2013, to a 32-strong real estate practice, made-up of eight partners, 22 fee earners and support staff.

Lodders’ partners Alastair Frew, a commercial property specialist, and Jane Senior, a property dispute resolution expert, provided a round-up of recent milestone land and real estate cases from across the UK.

This year’s seminar was held at Henley in Arden Golf Club in Warwickshire.

Lodders’ Real Estate team acts for national and regional commercial property developers, residential property developers, house builders, investment companies and funders.

Celebrating its 230th anniversary this year, Lodders has 25 partners, a portfolio of sector and market specific legal teams, over 130 fee earners and support staff across its office network, and has recorded year-on-year growth in recent years.