Stephen J. Giles

Passion Points: 3915

Construction & regeneration
19 Aug 2019 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Introducing 5 Centenary Square, Birmingham, UK

5 Centenary Square is the next build in the stunning Arena Central, Birmingham cluster.  Take the post to get the details on this Kier Property build which has been designed by Make Architects.



Erection of a 9-storey building comprising 225,086 sq ft of speculative office space, including a 7th floor external terrace overlooking Centenary Square.

A secure cycle store (64 bikes), with showers, refuse and plant rooms in addition to office space, will be located on the lower ground floor. 

The basement will contain car parking and plant rooms, of which 68 will be made available.

The development will see new landscaping & a public realm that will connect with the first phase of public realm works. 


In terms of building design - 5CS is said to be a contemporary interpretation of the Portland stone & granite materials used by listed builds nearby.


Arena Central Developments LLP


Make Architects 


2014/04004/PA (Reserved Matters)
2019/06718/PA (Revised Full Planning)

ARTISTS IMPRESSIONS OF THE BUILD - courtesy of Kier Property & Make Architects

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30 passion points
Construction & regeneration
09 Aug 2019 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Exchange Square update as the build gets ever closer to completion

New external balconies are being added and brickwork is also rapidly nearing completion. Take the full post with latest photos by Reiss and artists impressions from Stephenson Studios.



Artist Impressions by Stephenson Studio

Post by Stephen Giles/ Photos by Reiss Gordon Henry

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30 passion points
Construction & regeneration
06 Aug 2019 - Stephen Giles

Lansdowne House gets the Sky High Birmingham treatment from ItsYourBuild

Here's a selection of photography taken by People with Passion for Birmingham on yet another tour by the team as part of the Sky High Birmingham initiative to map and track every possible view of the City north, south, east and west.  We've gathered some fantastic views from the top of Lansdowne House at Five Ways, Birmingham.  


Magnificent photography courtesy of Stephen Giles, Tom Grunt and Karl Newton.

Thank you to Matt Lakin of Interserve Construction for getting the team up there!

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30 passion points
Construction & regeneration
01 Aug 2019 - Stephen Giles
Did you know?

DID YOU KNOW: ONE Eastside to include a 'public pavilion' garden room!

Community Spirit lives on with plans by Court Collaboration and Glancy Nicholls for a public pavilion 'garden room' at One Eastside, Birmingham's new 51 story skyscaper.


Birmingham is getting a 51-storey skyscraper. 

But did you know there used to be a Victorian pub on the west corner of the site? 

Court Collaboration and Glancy Nicholls Architects plan to create a public pavilion 'garden room' on its footprint.

It was said to be in the same ilk as other local pubs still standing today, such as The Woodman in Eastside and The Craven Arms on Upper Gough Street.  

Unfortunately though, it's long demolished following WW2.


Using historical map data, it has been scaled and positioned exactly as it used to sit, with geometry used to divide the spaces into compartment style ‘rooms’.

A bar (represented as seating) spans the compartments serving all areas of the pavilion.

It will have the potential to provide exhibition space for the nearby university and of course be used by communities within the area. 

Historical map data: Picture by Glancy Nicholls Architects

Latest plans:

Artist Impressions by Glancy Nicholls Architects

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40 passion points
Construction & regeneration
29 Jul 2019 - Stephen Giles

Bloc Grand Central Update - demolition complete and site cleared!

BLOC Grand Central Update: Site all cleared; piling rig due to arrive; and building contractor to be announced. Take our great article to see just how quick work has progressed through 2019.  


Before the exciting Bloc Grand Central Hotel can commence, Gallan House, an unsightly sixties building needed to come down.

Bloc Hotels Group have had their fair share of hiccups along the way, but scaffolding went up all around the building in March (2019), Station Road was then reduced to one lane, and Cawarden Co. Demolition finally consigned Gallan House to the history books.

Check out its progress here:


Internal stripout underway

After a few hiccups, the site went quiet. But then..

MARCH 2019:

Scaffolding starts to go up, Station Road was reduced to one lane, with fencing going up to aid demolition crews, and the building was of course fully wrapped for health and safety.


Portacabins were delivered on site one by one.


A Cawarden Co. Demolition excavator arrived on site.

Quick progress was being made over the coming weeks.


Going, going, pretty much gone!

Big brother and his little bruv sifting through the rubble.



Lets hope in the next update we'll see a piling rig on site. Roll on construction!

Photos by Greater Birmingham Developments: Tomas Grunt, Stephen Giles and Reiss Gordon Henry.

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30 passion points
Construction & regeneration
19 Jul 2019 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

The heart of Birmingham is set to get even bigger! It's coming - Eastside Locks

Take the post to see what's now been approved that will add even greater 'heart' to the City Centre in Birmingham.


Birmingham's skyscraper pipeline is actively heating up.

St Joseph Homes - a subsidiary of building giant Berkeley Group had their plans approved (July 2019) to develop a major mixed-use development in the heart of the city.

Seven new builds of varying sizes will go up, including a landmark 123m, 37-storey tower, in the ever evolving Eastside district of the city.

After 18 months of pre-application meetings and consultations, the scheme, designed by Glenn Howells Architects, was openly welcomed by the planning committee.

The project will see a total of 753 homes over three plots.

Across these, 364 one-bedroom, 369 two-bedroom and 20 three-bedroom units will be created.

Artist Impressions by Glenn Howells Architects

The scheme will also see an 18-storey building built, with the remainder being mostly nine storeys tall.

"Our vision for the site is to create an inclusive community that will reconnect the rich heritage of Eastside Locks with this dynamic and innovative quarter of Birmingham." - Glenn Howells

The £200m development will include up to 20K square foot of flexible commercial space, with the inclusion of a gym, cinema and games room, plus new public and private open spaces.

Artist Impressions by Glenn Howells Architects

These three new public spaces include Glassworks Square, Lawley Plaza and Pound Basin.

You can see the layout below. Glassworks is labeled as no.4, Lawley Plaza is no.5 and Pound Basin is no.6.

Whilst Pound Basin is effectively part of the waterway, commercial usages will overlook the canal and provide a picturesque seating area for both the public and residents alike.

Eastside Locks layout by Glenn Howells Architcts

All will form welcoming gateways into Eastside Locks and provide a sense of place.

Pedestrians will take priority here, in what will be a car free environment, with canalside walkways at varying levels offering a choice of routes through the site with active frontages providing retail and leisure facilities along the way. 

Each plot will include secure basement level car and cycle parking for 769 bikes and a capacity for 108 cars, including 15 disabled and 10 electric charging points.

Visual impact picture by Glenn Howells Architects

The site today sits largely derelict, with just a wall near the canal due to be demolished.


Berkeley have traditionally focused on London and the southeast market in recent times, however, with Birmingham booming, they are making a beeline to the Second City in a bid to exploit housing demand in the city.

And they have grand plans, too.

“We have ambitious, long term plans for Birmingham and these sites will be followed by many others in the years to come.” - Tony Pidgeley, CEO of Berkeley Group

One of which is the 21-storey canalside Snow Hill Wharf complex, a 406-apartment scheme on Shadwell Street in the Gun Quarter, which is currently under construction, and can be viewed here:


Plot D: (37 storey tower) - 127 one bed, 138 two bed & 8 three bed apartments with concierge service and three commercial units on the ground floor.

Plot E: (Four 9 storey blocks) - 180 one bed and 132 two bed apartments with podiums providing communal outdoor amenity space. The ground floor will  accommodate a residents lounge, games room, cinema and entrance to the basement car park, plus three units of flexible commercial floorspace.

Plot F: (Part 1, 5, 10 & 18 storeys) - 57 one bed, 99 two bed and 12 three bed apartments along with two units of flexible commercial floorspace, with concierge and a gym.  The roof above the commercial units and central plant area will also provide a communal outdoor amenity area for residents.

To keep up with these exciting developments, be sure to follow and @itsyourbuild on Twitter

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30 passion points
Music & musicians
27 Jun 2019 - Stephen Giles

Black Sabbath Bridge, Birmingham


‘Black Sabbath Bridge’ is now officially a Birmingham landmark.

Two founding members of the Brummie mega group yesterday attended the public event at the road bridge which crosses the canal on Broad Street.

Watched on by hundreds of Sabbath fans eager to catch a glimpse of two Brummie icons, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler arrived in true Birmingham style, travelling by narrowboat to unveil the new bridge signage from the canal below.

Pictures by Antony Crutch

As well as the new bridge name, a ‘heavy metal bench’ incorporating images of the band’s original four members is now permanently based on the bridge, which is expected to draw hundreds and thousands of tourists to the city and the canal network.

Picture by Darren Quinton

The bench is inscribed "Geezer. Ozzy. Tony. Bill. Made in Birmingham 1968'.

Photos by Darren Quinton

Renowned tribute band Sabbra Cadabra had provided the entertainment beforehand, belting out hit after hit from the canal island opposite the National Sea Life Centre.

Photo by Darren Quinton

After the presentation, Butler and Iommi were only too eager to say thank you to the fans who had attended, before going on an autograph spree.

Photos by Darren Quinton

Photo by Marty Reynolds

Sabbath will also get their own Birmingham Walk of Stars, with plans to also give drummer Bill Ward one, before realigning them into the shape of a cross in front of the bench. 

The unveiling coincides with a major Home Of Metal exhibition celebrating Black Sabbath and the band's legacy called "Black Sabbath 50 Years". It runs until September 29 at Birmingham Museum And Art Gallery.

Be sure to check it out!


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40 passion points
Construction & regeneration
24 Jun 2019 - Stephen Giles

Exciting times at The Mercian (Moda Tower) - June 2019 update

Frenzied activity lately. The crane base has been installed behind those hoardings, and the rest of the site is extensively undergoing groundworks. Exciting times!


Pictures by Stephen Giles

Project Overview

HEIGHT: 42 floors (132m) 
ARCHITECT: Glenn Howells Architects
CONTRACTOR: John Sisk and Son
USE: Residential

42 storey mixed use development, comprising of a thirty-nine storey resi building (30 studios, 163 one, 260 two & 28 three beds) constructed on top of a three-storey podium, with over 30,000 square foot of communal amenity space throughout.

Amenities will include the UK's first ever 200m running track on a habitable building, 24-hour concierge service, app controlled lifts, terraces, indoor/ outdoor cinema & dining club, offices, wellbeing zones, co-working space, gym, secure car and cycle parking & a cycle hub.

The development is being funded by a portfolio of investors, namely Apache Capital, Harrison Street Real Estate Capital, NFU Mutual and Goldman Sachs

Artists impression from Glenn Howells Architects

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50 passion points
Construction & regeneration
10 Jun 2019 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Port Loop - a neighbourhood for the 21st century with the canal at its heart!



Port Loop is a once in a life time development, with the canal firmly at its heart.

This 43-acre urban island is being delivered by an Urban Splash, Places for People and Sekisui House Joint Venture, working in tandem with Birmingham City Council and the Canal & River Trust.

Delivery for the project is scheduled over the next seven years, with a phased approach helping with housing demand.

Once complete, Port Loop has the potential to see a total of 1,150 new homes delivered here, just a ten-minute walk from Brindleyplace.

Masterplan artist impression from Maccreanor Lavington

When the canal route was constructed in 1769, it was born right out of the Industrial Revolution, before a new canal by-pass was introduced in 1827, thus creating a mini urban island.

Now, buildings from that golden era are being brought back to life, and are being centred around this exciting once-in-a-lifetime development with event and mixed-use work space.

The development is now fully linked up to the existing canal towpath, making Birmingham's newest address more accessible and the go-to place to live.

"All partners are very excited about the task ahead. To transform this amazing but neglected and underused part of Birmingham into a truly wonderful new waterside quarter full of homes, life, activity, on land and on water - a vibrant and family-focused new neighbourhood for the 21st Century." - Urban Splash


The entire first phase has consent for a total of 207 family homes, in a mix of 117 terraced houses and 90 apartments with private garden terraces, courtyards and two new public parks, plus a canalside square with retail, leisure and commercial facilities.

The first batch delivery will see a total of 77 new homes – 40 of which have been created in a factory offsite by HoUSe - the Urban Splash modular brand, meaning customers can design the internal layout and composition of their own homes. 

The remaining 37 homes have been designed in a traditional mews house style, and have been designed by Glenn Howells Architects.

First phase architects include Glenn Howells, shedkm and Grant Associates, alongside masterplan architects Maccreanor Lavington.

Artist Impressions from Urban Splash

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30 passion points
Construction & regeneration
04 Jun 2019 - Stephen Giles

An illuminated crown to light up the City skyline in Birmingham!

With the cladding inching closer to completion, Stephen Giles looks at the distinctive two-storey crown feature that'll top off this momentous development.


The silver cladding continues its upward rise, and with the interior meticulously being fitted out, attention is quickly turning to the distinctive two-storey crown feature at the very top.

Excitingly, it will incorporate a new addition to the city’s skyline – an illuminated crown.

It came about after Regal Property Group, the developer, saw an opportunity to enhance the project by adding an extra two storeys, taking it from 31 to 33 floors. 

Not only did this see the building whiz past the 100 metre mark (102m), but it allowed the architects to produce a design that gave the project further distinction, given that it will sit proudly on the skyline for years to come. 

Glancy Nicholls have designed this to acknowledge the silverworks metal working heritage of Broad Street from yesteryear. The tower already takes subtle nods from that, referencing it with its silver hues in its design and materiality.

Artist Impressions by Glancy Nicholls Architects

The crown has seen an increase in silver frame bars/spindles, with strips of vertical blue lighting, which will further define the crown and give Bank II an imposing identity.

Once complete, the building will boast recessed LED lighting, and given the site location, on what is one of the tallest plots of land in the city, it'll be instantly recognisable for miles around.

Artist impressions by Glancy Nicholls Architects

June 1st construction update:

Picture by Aqueembayor

Photos by Stephen Giles


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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
24 May 2019 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Wow this is exciting! Proposal for development at S&K Building, Birmingham

The S&K Building is an exciting residential project in Digbeth.The planning application has just been submitted. Follow developments with us here at ItsyourBuild. 


S&K Building is another in the long line of exciting developments proposed for Birmingham.

Brought forward by Taylor Grange Developments, the site is located in Digbeth and bound by Bradford Street, Birchall Street & Cheapside.

It's been designed by Corstorphine + Wright, who are proposing 6 new residential blocks of between six and nine storeys, providing a total of 503 one, two and three bedroom apartments.

To break that down, these will be 260 one, 241 two & 2 three beds.

We'll see the demolition (see picture below) of buildings currently standing in poor condition, except for the Bradford Street facade that is, which is being retained and incorporated into the development with a new two-storey rooftop extension.


A new riverside public realm walkway linking through the site has been designed to open up access to the Rea - undoubtedly Digbeth's biggest asset.

Included is 350sqm of amenity space and 539sqm of flexible floorspace - three units, which could potentially house a cafe, restauraunt or bars.

All of these will be prominently located on the ground floor facing onto Bradford Street and the newly landscaped riverside walkway. 

There will also be two courtyard gardens, provision for 38 car parking spaces, which includes basement parking, plus space for 270 bicycles. 

There will be 35 standard car parking spaces, 3 disabled spaces, plus 5 will be allocated for electric vehicle charging points.


Demolition plan. Red is to be demolished. Blue is to be retained.

All pictures and images by Corstorphine+Wright

Planning application: 2019/04152/PA 

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30 passion points
Construction & regeneration
15 May 2019 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

The Grand Hotel, Birmingham - Update on restoration work (May 2019)

Birmingham’s most iconic hotel is set to be restored to its former glory when it opens next year.


Occupying a prominent position on the city’s grandest address of all, Colmore Row, The Grand Birmingham Hotel is scheduled to open its doors in May 2020.

It follows ten years of extensive renovation works throughout the building, which has seen Hortons’ Estate invest more than £25 million to give this Grade-II listed beauty a well deserved second chance at life.

Developed by the Horton Family themselves between 1879 and 1895, this opulent French Renaissance inspired building has played host to royalty, A-list Hollywood film stars and politicians over the years, as well as staging many dinners, concerts and dances in the picturesque Grosvenor Suite – a suite that will be returning to the public next year.

The Grand Hotel, 1894 - Photo by British Library

The Grand Ballroom - Photo by Birmingham Post

Plush new shops, upmarket restaurants and upgraded new offices now adorn the lower floors fronting onto Colmore Row, with more to come on Barwick Street.

This work has been supported by grants from Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), Birmingham City Council and Historic England.

Photo by 55ColmoreRow

Photo by Tom Grunt


The crowning glory for Hortons' Estate in all of this was securing a hotel operator, however, this has proved to be more difficult than anticipated.

The search for a builder to undergo works, in order to attract an operator, has been painstakingly frustrating at times, with builders put off by the antiquated nature of the interior, with modernising works seemingly too difficult to overcome.

However, a deal was reached and an announcement was duly made midway through 2017 when Principal Hotel Company announced plans to turn the upper floors into a luxury 180-room hotel.

The hotel will include extensive conference and banquet spaces, along with a restaurant, bar, and spa.

Initial plans for a rooftop infinity pool have since been scrapped in favour of five more spacious rooms. The hotel will now contain a total of 185 rooms, with a decision on the star rating yet to be made.

“We have always believed that the restoration of The Grand would not be complete if it did not include a luxury hotel.

After considerable time and effort we have chosen to work with Principal on the project because they share our commitment to creating the city’s finest hotel and because of their impressive track record working on similar buildings in other major cities.” - Tony Green, chief executive of Hortons’ Estate

With the hotel set to open in twelve months time, Graham Construction won the fit-out contract to deliver the hotel late last year, with work inside very much underway.

The Grand Hotel is well on its way to being reborn!

Artists Impressions by Berman Guedes Stretton

For more information on Birmingham's developments, follow @GtrBhamDev on Twitter

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70 passion points
Construction & regeneration
14 May 2019 - Stephen Giles

Construction of Three Arena Central (HMRC) - Photo Gallery (May 2019)

Cladding samples are now on site. Windows continue to be installed in the hexagonal frames, together with black sub-cladding. The steel structure on the upper floors are also close to being constructed.


Photos by GregglesUK


Photos by Stephen Giles

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30 passion points
Construction & regeneration
07 May 2019 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Massive development at 103 Colmore Row in Birmingham is back on track!

The Landmark office development at 103 Colmore Row is back on track after a brief delay in construction.


103 Colmore Row is one of a kind.

Standing at an imposing 26 storeys (108m from its lowest peak and 105.5m at its highest), it will become the city’s tallest office building once complete.

But not only that, it also takes the crown of being the largest office under construction anywhere outside of London, showing once more that Birmingham continues to be a hugely attractive city to invest and do business in.

Sterling Property Ventures and Rockspring Property Investment Managers LLP teamed up in 2014 (until the latter were acquired by Patrizia in late 2017) to bring this project forward, that is until a top London investor entered the scene recently, which saw a brief pause on construction.

Tristan Capital Partners acquired Patrizia’s interest in the site and will now work with development manager Sterling PV to commence this eagerly-awaited development.

Work has now officially recommenced with work on the concrete core set to rise this month.

Photo by Sterling Property Ventures


Artists Impression by Doone Silver Kerr

Designed by architects Doone Silver Kerr, and currently being built by BAM Construction, 103 will boast 223,631 sq ft (square foot) of office space over 20 floors, 7,665 sq ft of restaurant space on the ground and top two floors, a winter garden, 18th floor terrace and multi-purpose business lounges. 

In fact, the top two floors will see a signature double-height ‘lantern’ bar and restaraunt, offering panoramic views across the ever evolving Birmingham skyline for everyone to enjoy.

It will be lit up like a beacon at night, ensuring that this majestic building is visible from miles around the city.

Artists Impression by Sterling Property Ventures

Artists Impressions by Doone Silver Kerr

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50 passion points
Construction & regeneration
03 May 2019 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

ONE Eastside in Birmingham - this is set to be big!

A 500ft skyscraper is on course to become Birmingham's biggest ever building. Introducing ONE Eastside


Court Collaboration & Glancy Nicholls Architects have revealed plans for what will be Birmingham’s tallest ever building.

ONE Eastside will have two residential buildings of 15 & 51 storeys (160m) with 667 one and two-bed apartments, as well as various public realms.

It's set to become the tallest building in the city, overtaking the 152m BT Tower, a structure that has dominated the city's skyline for over 53 years.

Artists Impressions by Court Collaboration

Located at the junction of James Watt Queensway and Jennens Road, seconds away from the proposed HS2 Curzon Street Station terminus, the area is expected to drive huge, unprecedented regeneration in the years to come.

The project is being forward funded through a portfolio of global investors including specialised build-to-rent funds, with Court’s aim not just to create something special in this crucial area of the city, but to also push new boundaries when it comes to city centre living.

“We are truly excited about One Eastside. Bringing such a tower of scale to the region and adjacent to the entrance to our new HS2 station, this scheme will create new standards of city centre living for its residents."

"The people who live in these apartments in the city centre have a lot of choice which has forced everyone to up their games, which can only be good news.

"This is a fantastic project for Birmingham and would be a real landmark for the city." - Court Collaboration CEO and founder Anthony McCourt

Indeed, amenities here will include a spacious roof-top sky lounge featuring a bar and dining area for residents, a cinema and a variety of yoga and gym facilities.

There will also be commercial space on the ground floor, plus residents will also be allowed to keep pets at the scheme.


The CEAC building (Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry) currently sits on site, however, demolition has already been approved.

Blucon Group will internally strip out the building, remove asbestos before mechanical demolition can take place in the coming weeks ahead.

In the meantime, McCourt continued: "We've been engaged in a detailed pre-application process over the past nine months and done a huge amount of consultation and discussion already.

"We have done a lot of work with Birmingham City Council on this and they have been supportive of height, as long as the design is there as well."

That planning application will arrive shortly, with construction expected to commence in November 2019, with a targeted completion of late 2022. Watch this space!

Artists Impressions from Glancy Nicholls Architects - all pictures are subject to change

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50 passion points
Construction & regeneration
30 Apr 2019 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Exciting developments by Nikal at Exchange Square, Birmingham, UK - Construction with Community

Exchange Square (Phase 1) is an exciting new urban village development from the guys at Nikal.  

Take the post by Stephen, one of Birmingham's People with Passion and follower of Construction, for more on the development.


Designed by Stephenson Studio, and being built by Sir Robert McAlpine, this mixed-use scheme on Moor Street Queensway contains three new builds -  one 9 storeys tall, one 16 storeys and the other of 27 storeys - comprising a total of 603 apartments, ranging from studios to one, two and three bedrooms.

Artist Impression by Stephenson Studio

There are rooftop gardens available for residents, plus a new public square will naturally form the heartbeat of the development, and will include 30,000 square foot of prime restaraunt, bar and cafe space fronting onto Moor Street Queensway.

Photo credit: Tom Grunt

Photo credit: Tom Grunt

Photo credit: Tom Grunt

Also included is a 5,000 sq ft residents’ hub, with concierge and members club style private lounge, plus basement car parking for 187 cars and secure cycle storage for 78 bicycles.

Artist Impression by Stephenson Studio

Artist Impression by Stephenson Studio

Phase 2 will see yet more investment, in the form of two new projects. Firstly, a minimum 35-storey tower, also from Nikal. Grainger (the residential landlord) officially forward funded the project late last year.

Also confirmed is a 13-storey, 225-room Premier Inn Hotel, with a Bar + Block steakhouse restaurant, which will formally complete the Exchange Square development.

Birmingham is booming with a sustained period of investment and regeneration in the area showing no signs of stopping. With HS2 and other exciting developments on the horizon, Exchange Square is superbly placed in the thick of it, as this area of the City continues its burgeoning renaissance.

You can view a Live webcam of the build (courtesy of Nikal) at

View the full ItsyourBuild coverage of Exchange Square here.

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50 passion points
Construction & regeneration
28 Apr 2019 - Stephen Giles

Construction of St Martin's Place - June 2019

The concrete frame has reached the fourth floor. External cladding and brickwork are also going up on the Broad Street elevation.


Below are the April and May updates for Seven Capital's 17-storey, 228-room residential development, 'St Martin's Place'.

The project has now reached its fourth floor, with decking and concrete pours commencing across the site.

External cladding is also going up on the Broad Street & St. Martin's Street elevations.

These comprise of a black brick, which is articulated with two other distinct tones of material, a light acid etched pre-cast concrete, and a porcelain cladding, in a darkish grey.

April 19th:

June 1st:

Photos by Stephen Giles

Overview of the site by Clark Mulhern

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5 passion points
Construction & regeneration
26 Apr 2019 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Construction of Snow Hill Wharf - April 2019 update

Groundworks are well underway across the site. A crane was recently erected on site, with work progressing.



Photography by Tom Grunt


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10 passion points
Construction & regeneration
26 Apr 2019 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Snow Hill Wharf - construction work now underway

A new canalside apartment complex reaching up to 21 storeys and providing five new buildings in the Gun Quarter has officially begun.


Construction has started at Snow Hill Wharf with the first of the cranes moving in. 

Photography by Tom Grunt

Located on Shadwell Street, on a tranquil canal-side stretch of the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal, Snow Hill Wharf offers 406 one, two and three bedroom apartments with three landscaped podium gardens.

St Joseph Homes (a subsidary of UK giant Berkeley Homes) are behind the plans, as it make a beeline into Birmingham. It has been designed by London-based Grid Architects.

Berkeley have traditionally focused on the London and southeast property market, but are now looking to Birmingham for growth in their plans to exploit housing demand, on the back of HS2, with many more developments in the offing.  

Residents of Snow Hill Wharf will benefit from exclusive facilities, including a residents’ only cinema, gym, steam room, sauna, meeting rooms and 24-hour concierge service.

There will be parking for 139 cars, including five charging points for electric vehicles, and space for 408 bikes.

The scheme is widely expected to trigger wider regeneration in this under-utilised part of the city centre in the years to come.

Berkeley Group chairman Tony Pidgley said: “In partnership with Birmingham City Council, we will transform these long vacant sites into thriving communities with the new homes, jobs and amenities local people need. The council has real commitment and vision to create homes and communities for its people. It’s a fantastic city and a great place to do business.

“We have ambitious, long term plans for Birmingham and these sites will be followed by many others in the years to come.”

Artist Impressions by GRID Architects

Artist Impressions by GRID Architects

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40 passion points
Construction & regeneration
11 Apr 2019 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Update on Lancaster Street, Birmingham, UK

The buzz around the city shows no sign of ending if this ‘Gun Quarter’ student development is anything to go by.

Stephen Giles, one of Birmingham's 'people with passion' and follower of all things construction brings you another construction update.


Birmingham is set to get another tall building.

Developer Reuben & Morgan has teamed up with Mayfair Land and Estates to bring this exciting student development to an area actively undergoing major regeneration.

Artist Impression by DCSK Architects

Standing at 24 storeys, on the corner of Lancaster Street and Lawson Street, near the ‘Learning Quarter’ of Eastside, this development will provide a total of 556 student bedrooms, comprising a total of 115 studios and 441 multi-bed apartments.

Artist Impression by DCSK Architects

With an eight-storey shoulder, the building will naturally integrate with the surrounding areas and provide active ground floor frontages where facilities will include a ground floor café, fitness studio, student hub areas, study spaces, outside terrace space, plus cycle storage for 82 cycles.

Future Generaton will be the student housing occupier, whilst DCSK are the architects behind the scheme.

They have designed a structural skin so that we will see an alternating pattern of solid pre-cast concrete panels and glazed openings wrap entirely around the building. These panels will incorporate a light warm hue to contrast to the darkness of nearby developments.

Artist Impression by DCSK Architects

Sitting on the corner plot, the building will go a very long way to defining the area with this gateway entrance, and in the process, create a nice rhythm of mid-size buildings as you enter the city centre.


Plans were approved in the first week of January 2019 by the Planning Committee at Birmingham City Council.

The next phase of works will see the eventual demolition of buildings on site, before construction can commence.

Watch this space!

For posts, a gallery and links on this build, connect here.  

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50 passion points
Construction & regeneration
09 Apr 2019 - Stephen Giles
Did you know?

A 200-metre running track on a building? Pull the other one!

That's right! A 200-metre outdoor running track, the UK’s first in a residential building, is amongst the many quirky amenities planned for the 42-storey MODA Tower being built on Broad Street in Birmingham.

Stephen Giles, one of Birmingham's 'people with passion' and follower of all things construction asks: Why? 

View post.


It’s all about moving with the times.

Nowadays, the city centre apartment experience is seen as becoming much more about lifestyle, rather than just living space.

It's now about creating a product tailored around lifestyle which in turn focuses heavily on brand and the amenities the building provides.

Moda Group, are a leading rental lifestyle brand and are behind 2one2 Broad Street. Their aim is to create an integrated, sustainable amd diverse community and revolutionise the whole living experience by making it a thoroughly enriched one for its residents.

This makes sense because people, if they can get it, want luxury, ease, comfort and convienence at their disposal.

So, developers, such as Moda, are actively promoting their healthy urban living movement as a way to entice new residents, and with a society fixated with wellness and healthy living, it certainly holds an attractive, long-term appeal for today’s fitness-mad generation.

Artist's impressions by Glenn Howells Architects

Once complete, 42-storey, ‘2one2 Broad Street’, billed as a “vertical village” will contain 481 apartments (from studios to three bedrooms) and will boast an internal environment second to none.

Residents will have access to over 30,000 square foot of communal space in which to socialise and unwind, with 24-hour concierge service, terraces, gym, cycle hub, outdoor BBQ & cinema space, a dining club plus health and wellness zones, where support services are readily available for residents’ physical and emotional wellbeing.

Then there's a 200-metre outdoor running track on the roof of the podium – a UK first in a residential building, and one that should go down a storm with today’s fitness fantatics - all without having to leave the complex.

Artist's impressions by Glenn Howell's Architects

Providing high quality housing with well-designed amenity spaces, from workspace to personal wellbeing, complete with a mix of community and top-notch service certainly offers wide appeal for people seeking a new place to live.

The bar is certainly being raised higher in Birmingham and its residents will soon reap the rewards.

To see more images and information about Moda Tower, click here.

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50 passion points
Construction & regeneration
02 Apr 2019 - Stephen Giles

Introducing Moda Tower (2one2 Broad Street), Birmingham, UK

Take the full post for full details of Moda Tower (2one2 Broad Street), Birmingham, UK. 



42 storey mixed-use development comprising a thirty-nine storey residential building (30 studios, 163 one bed, 260 two bed and 28 three bedroom apartments) which will sit on a three storey podium with over 30,000 sq ft of communcal amenity space


• Residents lounge
• 24 Hour concierge
• Communal terrace
• 200m outdoor running track
• Outdoor cinema
• Health and wellness zones
• Co-working space
• Indoor/Outdoor cinema and dining club
• 'MODA Works' Offices
• Secure car and cycle parking (48 cars & 9 motorbikes & 489 cycles)
• Tenant storage lockers
• Gym & a cycle hub

DEVELOPER: Moda Living (Caddick Group & Generate Land)


DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS: Apache Capital, Harrison Street & NFU Mutual


ARCHITECTS: Glenn Howells Architects 


CONTRACTOR: John Sisk & Son 



2017/08357/PA (Full Planning)

VALUE: £183 million


PHOTOS & IMAGES from Glenn Howells Architects

Images courtesy Glenn Howells Architects

Connect here to see coverage of project.

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50 passion points
Construction & regeneration
29 Mar 2019 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Arena Central through the years


Sat on the site of the old ATV Studios, Arena Central represents 1.2 million square foot of mixed-use development and forms an integral part of Birmingham City Council's Big City Plan, as well as having a prime position within the city centre enterprise zone.

The area is flourishing at long last, but this wasn't always the case.

The site has seen two major projects over the last 15 years, all of which have been cancelled, thanks mainly to a combination of planning wrangles and the economic downturn. 


Before the ‘Arena Central’ name was coined though, the site was the place where "You can’t beat a bit of Bully” and 'Let's have a look at what you could have won.' – where the prizes of these TV game shows invariably involved a speedboat. Not very practical if you lived in Chelmsley Wood, say.

Image credit Bullseye, Andrew J. Wood Enterprises

Birmingham’s ATV studios were famous for the production of a plethora of well-known shows, including, yes, that show Bullseye, but also Tiswas, The Golden Shot, New Faces, Spitting Image, Blockbusters, Crossroads, plus regional news programme ATV Today.

In the late 1960’s, encouraged by Birmingham City Council’s proactive approach to modern developments, ATV set up its' new studios in the city. Princess Alexandra opened the Centre in 1970 and it was billed as the most advanced television production facility in Europe, in readiness for the upcoming colour television revolution.

Fast forward twenty-seven years through the wonderment of ATV programming, it was decided that Central would close its doors in 1997 and move its operations to smaller studios on nearby Gas Street.

Plans for Arena Central were drawn up by Miller Developments and Hampton Trust.


In 1998, HOK proposed the construction of a 187m, 50 storey landmark residential, hotel and office tower. The building incorporated a spire, which took the height of the building to 245m and would have made it the biggest building in the country and one of the tallest skyscrapers in Europe at the time.

Artists impression by HOK Architects

Of course, this scheme never materialised, as it was beset with problems from the outset. Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott wanted it to be scaled down. Amendments were duly made.

Then came the New York City terrorist attacks in 2001, when fears arose that the tower could be a target itself. Part owners of the project Hampton Trust - a small company in the grand scheme of things - pulled out and the Arena Central development went cold.

Arena Central Developments 

Soon enough, Miller Developments acquired the site, with Bridgehouse Capital becoming Joint Venture partners later on in 2004, and the Arena Central Developments LLP company was created.

“We felt there was a chance to create something special in terms of a mixed-use environment and forming something out of what was a bit of a concrete jungle.” - Andrew Sutherland, Miller Developments

New masterplan designs were drawn up, with help from Australian mega developer Multiplex and the plans were given a glitzy unveiling at the property show, MIPIM, in 2007.

New Design

Artists impression by Dandara

This 50 storey tower from Dandara contained 706 apartments, three restauarants, a sky bar and a public viewing platform. It would have stood proud at 147m, with a facade overrun taking it to a more than a respectable 152m.

Although down in height from HOK’s amended design, it was reported this was because Crowne Plaza had refused to move out of its current building because of a desire to refurbish their own home instead.


The tower was approved in just two minutes by the Planning Department who labelled it a “stunning”. Construction was to begin in early 2008, with a targeted completion for 2013.

Again, as luck would have it, any sort of progress was delayed again by the financial crisis of 2008.


In 2012, activities picked up. The developers dusted themselves down and went full steam ahead and started getting planning consents, namely for a 250-roomed Holiday Inn Express Hotel.

Demolition work commenced on all facets of the site and construction work on this 18 storey hotel began in earnest.

Photo credit: John Egan

Planning consent was then granted for the first office building on site. At 140,804 sq ft, 1 Arena Central (now 5 Centenary Square) was the first speculative office development proposed since the financial crisis.

Artists impression by Make Architects

With an elegant curved façade and a modern chequerboard motif, it will eventually provide eight floors of HQ office space, alongside retail units on the ground floor.

For the first time in the history of the scheme, it had momentum, and this was emphathised by the news that HSBC UK would move from London to the 'Second City' in a new 210,000 sq ft building called 1 Centenary Square on a 250 year lease to act as the head office of its new ring-fenced bank.

Photo credit: Arena Central

The deal was the largest property deal in Birmingham since 2002 and of course, this was a catalyst for others to relocate. The offices in this area continue to flow. 

Artists impression by Make Architects

The government selected Arena Central as its preferred location for Phase 1 of its Birmingham Hub (up to 1m sq.ft.) where HMRC will move into 3 Arena Central - a 13-storey, 240,000 sq ft office building currently under construction.

Such is the confidence in the city, the development became the largest pre-let in Birmingham for over a decade. The building will house some 3,600 civil servants from a number of departments and will act as the Midlands regional hub for the company, on a 25 year lease.

Photo credit: ItsyourBuild

Birmingham City Council bought into Arena Central back in 2006 when it purchased the old Municipal Bank from Hampton Trust, giving them more of an influence on goings on.

The University of Birmingham acquired the building from them last year, thus adding an extra dimension to the Arena Central masterplan.

The building is currently undergoing works that will see it refurbished into a mixed-use scheme that will be adapted to accommodate a year-round public programme, with the old banking hall and vaults re-opened to the public with exhibitions, events, workshops, performances and the inclusion of a café.

There will be a new south elevation to integrate the building into the Arena site.

Artists impressions by Make Architects

Photo credit: Itsyourbuild


No grandeur, no skyscraper, no spire, but two L-shaped connecting blocks, reaching up to 23 storeys. It is being developed by Dandara Living, has been designed by Hodder+Partners and will deliver 323 apartments, with a completion date set for May 2019.

Photo credit: ItsyourBuild

The future of Arena Central

Development group Kier Property recently bought the rights from Miller Developments for a reported £30 million to build the remaining three phases and will also assume responsibility for the completion of 3 Arena Central.

Kier will now take on the baton to complete the sites remaining three plots which are likely to comprise further office buildings totalling 526,009 sq ft - known as 5 Centenary Square, 4 Arena Central and 5 Arena Central (Plots 3, 5 & 6 on the photo below)

Image of development by Arena Central

These plots will be developed over the next seven years. 

The future look bright for Arena Central! The future looks bright for Birmingham!

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50 passion points
Construction & regeneration
15 Mar 2019 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

West Midlands unveils £10bn investment programme at MIPIM

The Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street launched £10bn worth of projects to international investors on the opening day of MIPIM (2019) – the annual conference for property professionals held in Cannes, France.


Leading the delegation of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), Andy Street unveiled an Investment Prospectus consisting of 24 development opportunities from across the region that are seeking investment, many of which lie in Birmingham.

The Prospectus, containing current investment opportunities and ones coming soon - will provide investors with the opportunity to make their mark on a booming city regularly named as the UK’s most investable for foreign investment and business start-ups, as voted by 500 of Europe’s top property experts.

With a record number of developments underway and a healthy pipeline of projects on the horizon, Birmingham represents an attractive opportunity for investors all itching for the chance to deliver on some of the UKs biggest projects.

Some of these projects include:-

  • £2bn+ UK Central Hub and HS2 Interchange
  • £700m Paradise Birmingham
  • £1bn+ Birmingham Curzon HS2

Curzon Street Station HS2 

©Grimshaw Architects

This Grimshaw Architects & WSP UK designed station will form Phase 1 of HS2, and will link central London with the Second City. It will also enter the history books as being the first intercity train station built since the 1800's.

With preparatory works underway and a planning application for the station due soon, a £724m investment programme has been agreed with the Government that will not only create a spectacular new gateway station for Birmingham and its rail passengers, but be fully integrated into an extended Midland Metro Alliance tram network, as well as offering countless connections to the rest of the city and beyond.

HS2 will ignite and accelerate the expansion of the city’s office core and unlock land around the Curzon Street regeneration area, with a number of growth opportunities for commercial and residential uses in the pipeline, with Birmingham City Council as promoter working with Homes England as well as landowners to identify land ripe for development.

Paradise Birmingham


This £700 million Joint Venture is being led by Argent and Hermes and will deliver a high quality mixed-use development right in the cultural heartbeat of Birmingham.

We will see ten new buildings totalling 1.8 million sq ft, including offices, bars and restaurant space, all around a new public realm complimenting its historic city centre setting.

Phase One of ‘Paradise’ (two new buildings) will complete later this year. These include One and Two Chamberlain Square.

One Chamberlain Square - an Eric Parry Architects designed building comprises 172,000 sq ft of offices and ground floor commercial space. PwC will move 1400 employees into the building later this year and it will become their signature Midlands HQ. There is also the potential growth for an extra thousand more employees if needs be. BAM Construction have been tasked with finishing the job that Carillion couldn’t.

©Paradise Birmingham

Two Chamberlain Square – Designed by Birmingham’s own Glenn Howells Architects. Standing at eight storeys, it is being speculatevly built and features 183,000 sq ft of offices with ground floor commercial space fronting onto a new public realm. A significant pre-let is not too far away from being announced here. It is also being built by BAM Construction.


©Paradise Birmingham

Phase 2 of Paradise includes the 13-storey One Centenary Way, another Glenn Howells Architects design and faces onto Centenary Square.


©Glenn Howells Architects

This has been approved, funding has been secured and construction will get underway imminently. The building will be speculatevely built, such is the confidence in Birmingham these days and will feature 280,000 sq ft of office space, with shops and restaurants at ground and upper ground level. It will also feature the city’s first major Cycle Hub, with bike hire.

©Glenn Howells Architects

Also due in Phase 2 is a new 4 star hotel with approximately 250 bedrooms; and Three Chamberlain Square, offering more Grade A Offices, retail space and a new square. These can be seen below, but they are indicative images. Formal planning applications on these buildings have yet to be released.

©Paradise Birmingham

Phase 3 has outline planning permission to deliver a further five buildings and a new large public square and will follow in the same vein as Phases 1 & 2.

UKCENTRAL 'The Hub' & HS2 Interchange

UKCentral, or 'The Hub' is a 20 year growth plan on an area of land in Solihull, just off Junction 6 of the M42 motorway. It is home to Birmingham Airport; the National Exhibition Centre (NEC); Birmingham International Station; Birmingham Business Park; Jaguar Land Rover; and the Arden Cross development site which will be the location of the HS2 Interchange Station from 2026.

©Urban Growth Company©Urban Growth Company

The Urban Growth Company (a vehicle formed by Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council and supported by WMCA and GBSLEP) is partnering with West Midlands Combined Authority to maximise the opportunities with the arrival of HS2 in 2026 and are working with HS2 Ltd to link planned and existing local and regional transport to HS2, which will deliver £1.6 bn worth of infrastructure investment, with the potential to deliver up to 77,000 new jobs, 775,000 sq ft of commercial space & an urban quarter of up to 5000 new homes, with HS2 Interchange Station (below) at its heart.

©HS2 Ltd

HS2 Interchange will be the first stop outside London in 2026 and will bring together a fully-integrated and seamless transport exchange at a newly transformed Birmingham International Station (see below) – bringing together the NEC, future NEC City, airport, road, trams, plus the rail network that will see it become an international gateway by 2025.

Investors are being given the opportunity to support these plans by becoming long-term equity investors, large scale development funders and partners. All this will significantly contribute to growth and deliver thousands of new homes and jobs, as well as new commercial and leisure facilities and unrivalled connectivity that Birmingham and the surrounding areas has to offer.

©Urban Growth Company

Street said: “We are building the future and there’s never been a better time to invest in the West Midlands. We have a diverse, resilient economy, one of the youngest and fastest growing populations in Europe, great quality of life, unrivalled connectivity, brilliant centres of learning, and world-class businesses, large and small.

“This provides us with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to drive inclusive growth across the region that benefits all our communities.

“This £10bn investment prospectus demonstrates the strength of our offer and the boldness of our vision. We are the most promising place to invest in the UK – and, like all good businesses, we have a plan and are delivering it."

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
12 Mar 2019 - Stephen Giles
Did you know?

Tallest buildings across Birmingham - now and in the future!

I am Stephen Giles, a member of the ItsYourBuild community and follower of all things construction. Here I look at how Birmingham is 'reaching for the skies'.

I am delighted to include some stunning photography from Daniel, another member of the passionate and growing ItsYourBuild community in Birmingham.



Take a leisurely stroll around this flourishing city of ours and you'll never be too far away from a development under construction, anchored by a colourful 'dancing crane hypnotically towering above'.

The city continues to reach new heights, with developer and investor confidence in Birmingham at an all time high. This is all culminating in record levels of construction, investment and redevelopment across the UK's ‘Second City’.

We are clearly in an unprecedented time of growth which the city has not seen in many a generation.

Another exciting chapter awaits in the evolution of this remarkable city.


Birmingham is currently building two of the largest office buildings outside of London, one at Three Snowhill and the other at 103 Colmore Row.

With HS2 inching ever closer, the city is already capitalising on its position. It has seen, and will continue to see, a number of businesses choose Birmingham over its' rivals. With this comes an influx of new professionals moving to the city, with developers already reaping the rewards and wanting to build even more offices. 

Away from the limelight of the City Centre, it's also interesting to note patches of derelict land scattered around the city which are now quickly being filled up by low-rise residential buildings, which densifies the city even further and which leads us one step closer to building taller.

Land prices are rising significantly in certain areas of the city and the only way developers can get more 'bang for their buck' is to do one thing, build tall! The clamour for developers to begin building upwards has already begun.


Broad Street, one of the largest parts of land in the city, is home to the city’s tallest ever habitable building – Bank Tower Two, a Wates development.  Bank Tower Two comprises 217 one and two bed apartments with a private gym, 24-hour concierge, a residents bar and much more. It’s been designed by local architectural firm Glancy Nicholls Architects.

Bank Tower Two reaches 33 storeys (102 metres) and sets a benchmark for city living, not just for Broad Street, but for Birmingham as a whole.

Incidentally, Broad Street is earmarked for even taller builds, with one imminent and another the focus of pre-application discussions. Various sites nearby are being earmarked for redevelopment in the not too distant future.


Opposite Bank Tower Two will be MODA Tower, otherwise known as '2one2 Broad Street' and is the imminent development referred to above. Currently undergoing groundworks, this development will reach a whopping 42 storeys (132 metres).

Followers, like myself, of all things 'Tall Buildings' in Birmingham have been remarking - "You wait ages for one bus – and then two come along at the same time!"


In a nutshell, yes! Clearly if it is economically viable for a developer to build a mammoth building on a patch of land they’ve purchased, they will do so.


Whispers are that we’ll see these huge builds opposite the future Curzon Street HS2 building. There appears a desire from many in positions of influence, for tall, well designed buildings. We’re already seeing prime land being bought by developers with the intention of building 'big'.

Nikal have Phase 2 of Exchange Square up their sleeve. There is also Berkeley Group's much anticipated 37 storey building proposed for Eastside Locks, with an application due shortly.

Then there's Court Collaboration, a local group, hoping to shatter all records themselves by reaching for the skies. Backed by huge investment from overseas, there are rumours of a 46 storey building from Court Collaboration on James Watt Queensway, with a planning application due shortly.

In the meantime, the development pipeline for Birmingham looks as healthy as ever.

Let's enjoy the ride!

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