Birmingham’s largest development project, Paradise, has handed over its first completed building to office occupier PwC.
Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, marked the occasion with Matthew Hammond, Midlands region chairman for PwC, Rob Groves, regional director of Argent, Cllr Brigid Jones, deputy leader of Birmingham City Council, and Tim Pile, chair of Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP.
PwC, the leading professional services firm, has taken handover of the building as it prepares for its 2,000-strong team to move across the city from its current home in Cornwall Street to One Chamberlain Square early in the New Year.
PwC will occupy all of the commercial space in One Chamberlain Square, which is a seven storey, 172,000 sq ft office building with retail and leisure facilities on the ground floor.
The PwC Birmingham team has grown from 1,400 over the last two years as it continues to increase its regional presence, surpassing a landmark of 2,000 colleagues based in Birmingham this autumn, as the firm grows towards its planned target of 2,300 by the end of next year.
Matthew Hammond, Midlands region chairman for PwC, said: “The decision to locate ourselves at the Paradise development reflects the desire of our people to be in the heart of the city, and at the heart of the region and the UK. The importance of One Chamberlain Square for PwC, as its largest investment outside London currently, stretches beyond Birmingham and the West Midlands. It is symbolic of our investments across the UK’s regions.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to the many teams, organisations and individuals involved in making the Paradise scheme, and in particular One Chamberlain Square, a reality. Together they have transformed a key part of our city, which now looks forward to being a great place to live, work and visit.
“The handover of One Chamberlain Square today is a significant step in our journey to our new home. We are creating a first-class destination for our people and our clients. Our internal fit-out is complementary to the external design – a truly distinctive destination, which has connections at its heart through flexibility and technology-enabled workspaces. We have very much future-scoped the design to meet the needs of our people and clients now and in the future.”
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: “The handover to PwC is a major step forward for Paradise and a key milestone in the regeneration of Birmingham. Not only is Paradise beginning to take shape on the city’s skyline, but it is delivering on its promise to create jobs and opportunities for local people across the West Midlands, including supporting businesses like PwC to create new jobs in the city.
“The handover is a special moment for me in particular as I was chairman of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP when we set up the Joint Venture with the city council back in 2013. It fills me with immense pride to see our vision from six years ago coming to life and I now look forward to seeing Paradise continue to evolve. We will continue to work with Argent, Hermes, the LEP, and the city council to make sure the development is the best it can possibly be.”
Rob Groves, regional director at Argent, said: “It is a great feeling to welcome Matt Hammond and PwC to their new home. Now the building has been handed over from our construction contractor, BAM, PwC can now start their fit-out process. Having a major firm like PwC on board here at Paradise makes us confident of our place as the city’s premier business address.”
Chris Taylor, Head of Private Markets at Hermes Investment Management, said: “The approach at Paradise to deliver holistic returns has been achieved through deploying long-term capital and working in partnership with the public sector to deliver outstanding outcomes for Birmingham city centre, as well as having a positive impact upon the wider community and economy. This milestone letting to a major employer in the city clearly demonstrates the renaissance underway in Birmingham as its civic pride and economic and social offering is enhanced.”
Councillor Brigid Jones, deputy leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Paradise is already delivering growth for office and leisure occupiers in Birmingham, which is all about creating new jobs for the city. PwC have a long history in Birmingham going back 120 years and are growing further thanks to this move to Paradise.”
Tim Pile, Chair of Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) said: “It is a fantastic moment to see an occupier of the calibre of PwC moving to Paradise, creating both growth and jobs for the city and the region.”
Overlooking the Grade 1 listed Town Hall, Victorian Council House and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, One Chamberlain Square sits at the heart of Paradise with direct access from the refurbished Chamberlain Square and surrounding public realm.
At almost 2 million square feet, Paradise will deliver up to ten new flagship buildings, offering offices, shops, bars, cafés, restaurants and a four star hotel across 17 acres in the heart of the city.
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 Hermes Investment Management which has partnered with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) on the first phase of the development. Argent is the development manager.
Paradise sits in the country’s largest city centre Enterprise Zone and has already benefited from investment by the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) in enabling and infrastructure works.