Plans approved for redevelopment of Rackham’s buildings

The innovative reinvention of the former Rackham’s buildings in the city centre has been approved by Birmingham City Council at a Planning Committee meeting on 19th December.

Owners Legal & General appointed the original architects, tp bennett, to design a high quality and contemporary refurbishment of the Rackham’s buildings – currently occupied by House of Fraser, who occupy on a temporary basis having entered into a Company Voluntary Arrangement in 2018.

The sympathetic refurbishment will retain many of the original features and the essential character of the buildings while responding to the changing demands in retailing and office accommodation.

The resulting property will provide space for retailers, stylish bars, restaurants and other leisure uses on the ground and lower ground floors, while nine floors above will be converted for office use. A contemporary new ‘boutique’ hotel will be created on the corner of Temple Row and Cherry Street.

The entire building will be crowned by the city’s largest rooftop terrace complete with a bar and restaurant delivering magnificent views over St. Philip’s Square.

A new full height atrium is set to be a central focus and meeting point for workers and visitors and will allow natural light to permeate the building.

Turley is the planning consultant for this scheme, alongside providing economics and heritage and townscape services.

Simon Wilkes, Head of Business Space Development at LGIM Real Assets said; “Approval of this innovative ‘reimagination’ of such a prominent and renowned building is to be greatly welcomed by the city. The plans are very sensitive to its location overlooking St. Philip’s Cathedral and square, whilst meeting the growing demand for high quality office space and creating a new cluster of modern food, drink, retail and leisure facilities in the city’s core.

“We are absolutely thrilled about the outcome and hope to be able to start preparatory work as soon as possible. This is also an important asset management iniitaive for the fund, where we are taking retail assets and re-purposing them for more resilient uses.”

Chris Wieszczycki, Principal Director at tp bennett said; “Using our historical knowledge of this site, our design seeks to take advantage of its central location whilst responding to changing patterns in contemporary retailing and strong demand for office accommodation. We are very pleased that the committee understood our commitment to a scheme of the highest quality that will revitalise this heritage site in the centre of Birmingham.”

Charlotte Palmer, Senior Planner at Turley said: “We are delighted to have secured approval to transform ‘Rackhams’ and look forward to an exciting repurposed future for the building.

“Our successful negotiation with Birmingham City Council has enabled a vibrant, mixed-use scheme that has scope within the planning permission to adapt and respond to occupier requirements in a core location within Birmingham’s City Centre.

“The application was supported by our economics team, who assessed the economic benefits of the scheme and our heritage team who advised on potential impacts on the historic environment.”