Stephen J. Giles

Passion Points: 6225

Construction & regeneration
14 Nov 2019 - Stephen Giles

St Martin's Place, Birmingham - November 2019 update from It's Your Build

Seven Capital's 'St Martin's Place' continues to rise on Broad Street. With interesting construction methods, the development has largely been manufactured off-site. Check Stephen's latest picture update and check the phenomenal progress over the past few months.


Building works here have rapidly blossomed in the space of six months or so. Whilst other developments take time to get out of the ground, St. Martin's Place is already close to topping out.


Thanks to pre-cast offsite manufacturing being back in fashion and new technology being implemented, the pre-cast exterior is being designed, manufactured and assembled offsite by Creagh Concrete, who are using their popular fast-track building method called 'Rapidres', before assembling on-site. It's almost lego-esque.

These include the external sandwich panels you see today, which feature both a smooth and a brick finish, along with internal walls, stairs, lift shaft and flooring.

It's an ideal method for multi-storey projects where the layout is replicated across each floor, with the same method used at 'Aston Place' at Arena Central & The Lansdowne on Hagley Road.

With this method in mind, take a look at the difference five months makes.

APRIL 19 2019:

Photos by Stephen Giles

JUNE 1: 

Photo by Stephen Giles


Photos by Stephen Giles

Photos by Tom Grunt

The project is being developed by Seven Capital, has been designed by BDG Architects, and is being built by Colmore Tang Construction.

Once complete, it'll sit at 17-storeys, and will feature a total of 
228 residential apartments - comprising 118 one, 105 two and 5 three beds.

These 'super deluxe apartments' will also include shared facilities with the adjacent Park Regis Hotel, including a state-of-the-art gym, cafe, private cinema and 24-hour on-site concierge service.

Six commercial units are proposed at ground floor level. A landscaped courtyard, sat above the car park, sits on the upper floors and will provide a beacon of peace and quiet in an otherwise bustling city.


Artists Impressions by B|D|G Architects

Words by Stephen Giles

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35 passion points
Construction & regeneration
13 Nov 2019 - Stephen Giles

103 Colmore Row - Steel up to 4th floor! - See our Nov 2019 update

Lots more progress on the lower steel structure on this build, which has now reached the fourth floor! Take the link for a our thorough weekly picture update from Daniel, Stephen & Tom.


Photos by Stephen Giles

Photos by Tom Grunt


Photos by Daniel Sturley

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
08 Nov 2019 - Stephen Giles

Work progresses at pace at The Mercian, Broad Street, Birmingham - see our November 2019 update

Take our post for an early November update of the construction work at The Mercian including some great photography. 


Both cores have risen considerably since the last update, with the main core now sitting pretty at level 4. Just a mere 38 to go!

The pumping of concrete continues, as does the construction of new floors, as seen below.

Picture from MODA Reachtimelapse webcam

On the left hand side nearest the camera sits the only patch of land on site yet to see a floor. However, the vultures are quickly closing in.

A new floor is sweeping across from Tennant Street towards Broad Street at a quick rate, and given the frenzied nature of works here, it's only a matter of time before the whole site is officially filled in and 'The Mercian' can rise as one.

As stated in the last update, the main core will feature three public lifts, including a goods lift and a stairwell. This will allow access up to floor 42.

The secondary core, which you can see directly behind the main one, will service up to floor 14.

Photos by Daniel Sturley & words by Stephen Giles

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
01 Nov 2019 - Stephen Giles

A real hive of activity at Birmingham's future tallest building - latest gallery update for The Mercian

A real hive of activity at Birmingham's (soon to be) tallest building. Pouring of concrete continues throughout, new floors are also being prepped, plus a concrete pump now sits tantalisingly close to the main core! Check the link for the latest Mercian update.


The first floor podium has seen a concrete pouring on the Broad Street elevation, with work again commencing on the Tennant Street side. As you can see from the pictures, the podium level almost sits level with the Lee Longlands building next door.

With progress showing zero signs of slowing down, a concrete pump also now sits tantalisingly close to the main core. 

Hopefully not too long until we see this one rise into the Birmingham sky!

Photos by Daniel Sturley

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40 passion points
Construction & regeneration
28 Oct 2019 - Stephen Giles

The Construction of Three Arena Central - October 2019 Update

Here's the latest ItsYourBuild photo gallery for Three Arena Central (HMRC). The sub-cladding is complete and the silver final panels will start to appear soon. The building looks very black and dark at the moment but makes for some interesting photos.

Take the post for a great gallery of photography.


With the curtain walling more or less complete up to level 13, attention since our last update has quickly turned to the installation of pressure plates.

All this is in preperaton for the eagerly-awaited rainscreen cladding, which should start to appear in time for our next update.

Photos by Daniel Sturley

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30 passion points
Construction & regeneration
21 Oct 2019 - Stephen Giles

The Construction of 103 Colmore Row - October 2019

Significant progress has been made on the lower steel structure for 103 Colmore Row with the vertical setbacks now clearly visible on the Newhall Street side of the build and the large overhang at street level visible on Colmore Row.


Artist Impression from Doone Silver Kerr Architects

New to this update on the progress at 103 Colmore Row is the installation of four new 20 metre tall columns overlooking Colmore Row.

Weighing up to 20 tonnes, the structure will soon form the entrance to the new winter garden, the main architectural feature of the new development, as seen in the above render.


Photos by Daniel Sturley

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30 passion points
Construction & regeneration
21 Oct 2019 - Stephen Giles

The Construction of The Mercian - October 2019

The construction of the podium at The Mercian on Broad Street is now well advanced, with concrete pouring commencing across the site. Both cores are progressing well and are almost ready for lift off. A cladding sample has also appeared on site. Exciting times!


The main core will comprise of three lifts, a goods lift, refuse chute and a stairwell. This will provide direct access to floor 42.

A secondary core is also going up, as seen behind the main one. This will provide two additional lifts and provide access up to level 14, where the development will see a shoulder extension.


Photos by Daniel Sturley

A cladding sample is now taking pride of place on site.

Photo by Alan Webb

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30 passion points
Construction & regeneration
04 Oct 2019 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

100 Broad Street - a new 61 storey addition planned for the Broad Street cluster

Birmingham is a city experiencing huge change. In the City's Westside, we are calling it the 'Broad Street Cluster' with some massive skyscrapers either planned or already under construction.


A new 61-storey skyscraper is the next big building on the horizon for Broad Street after plans were revealed recently.

100 Broad Street, brought forward by Yardley-based, Euro Property Investments, will comprise 503 one-and two-bedroom apartments, with a 60th floor Sky Lounge, amenities and commercial units.

Located at the junction of Broad Street and Ryland Street, Centennial House, a disused office building owned by the applicant, will need to be demolished.

Rising to a mammoth 193 metres (633 feet), it's been designed by Jewellery Quarter-based practice, Glancy Nicholls Architects.

Birmingham City Council Planning Officers have intimated that a significant landmark building will be supported on site, subject to design, as the site lies within a location designated for taller ambitions.

No parking provision will be allocated, given that the Midland Metro Tram will service the area in 2021. Secure storage for 250 bikes will be made available instead.

While the design has been inspired by other talls, this proposal is unique for Birmingham - and crucially, it seems the numbers add up!

It's the tallest proposal the city has ever seen, and one which should set a precedent and inspire a new generation of tall buildings and architecture within the city centre.

As pointed out above, the Metro Tram will service the area, an extension that is already paying dividends to the regeneration, not only on Broad Street, but throughout the city, with its cleaner air and vastly improved accessibility.

It supports population and economic growth by linking jobs and people.

It also has the opportunity to perhaps kickstart the first phase of Ladywood's wider redevelopment plan due in the next few years.

With other developments coming forward, all linked via a tram route, the city should become an even more exciting place to live.


The building comprises an initial 55 storeys of apartments, with the rest earmarked for amenity, dining & commercial units.

The building will no doubt provide an attractive proposition for those wanting to live in the city.

Indeed, demand for city-centre housing is soaring; roared on by young professionals, and those who fancy a change of lifestyle.

The mix of units will see 224 one and 279 two-bedrooms, with all units available for sale on the open market, with accommodation sizes varying from 55.6 sqm to 80.8 sqm.


A two-storey (11m) pavilion will be incorporated into the rear of the site.

With a green roof proposed, it's been designed in a way to respond sympathetically to the nearby housing stock of Ryland Street.

A plethora of amenity offerings will be on offer here, including a gym, work space areas, games room, cinema, and a residents’ lounge with roof terrace – the latter will be accessed through a glazed link bridge.

A designated cycle storage area will be located here and will span both levels.

The materials will, like the tower, be made with an unitised facade system, mixing transparent and opaque panels.


The ground floor will boast a triple height lobby that'll be occupied by two commercial units (5,500 sqft) with mezzanine levels. Their entrances will be wholly independent to the residential aspect (see below).

Crucial really, as not only will they complement similar other uses along Broad Street, but they will also offer active frontages that will see the building blend into its surroundings, and enhance the vibrant street furthermore.


Located on the 58th-60th floors lies the jewel in the crown (no pun intended) - the 'Sky Lounge'.

It'll be a publicly accessible bar and restaurant space, with the architect already promoting it as the largest highest-altitude dining experience anywhere in the country.

Gas masks at the ready!

It’ll be accessible from the ground floor lift, right up to the 58th entrance lobby, with the 59th floor offering a full-height bar & the 60th providing space for public and private dining.


Birmingham City Council's 'High Places SPD (2003)' requires that tall buildings should be lit by well-designed lighting schemes, and should add to the skyline of the city.

Given that the main pedestrian footpath leads onto a main arterial route, the path will be naturally be illuminated via street lighting, with the added hues of nearby entertainment venues.

The main entrance will be uplit with LED luminaires.

No building mounted feature lighting is currently proposed, but this is subject to change.

Due to the height, an aviation warning lights strategy will also need to be developed in conjunction with Birmingham Airport - a consultee in pre-planning talks.

All external lighting will be dimmable and controllable via photocell and time scheduling.

At the very top, the crown will be illuminated to a low level of ambient lighting which will emit through the open sides.


The facade has been inspired by existing builds within the city and others further afield. Each facet of the design has taken a subtle nod from each.

A unitised facade system with titanium frames will take pride of place here, mixing transparent and opaque frosted glass panels. It'll ooze simpleness.

No openable windows are forecast, so the architects have once again incorporated a slot ventilation system into their proposal.

The system allows fresh air in, and fresh air to go out. It will be incorporated into the spandrel panels on the glazing, which have been meticulously designed to minimise the impact on the facade.

Historically, the site was once a well-known brass-works, so the architects will emphasise this with a slim linear articulation design that references the filigree patterns often found in brass-working. 


The site lies immediately adjacent to the proposed ‘Five Ways’ Midland Metro tram
stop - seen below.

Many new trees will be planted and a high-quality public realm implemented, which will, once complete, respond positively to the stop, whilst integrating the scheme into its surroundings.

Eight or so new trees are proposed along the front of the building along Broad Street, with further trees within the external seating area, and off Ryland Street.


Through pre-planning discussions, 100 Broad Street has evolved from three buildings, with a pinnacle 40 storey tower, to a 61-storey landmark skyscraper.

The massing of the tower now responds to the relationship between the existing buildings along Broad Street.

It's more simple in form, has more of an impact, with both masses sliding against each other, thus giving the development a more slender appearance - as seen below.

You'll notice that the positioning of the tower has also been delicately positioned. This is to give some enclosure to the adjacent houses on Ryland Street, whilst giving Broad Street an exclusive frontage.


All glitzy stuff, but before any of this can materialise, Charter & Centennial House, 34,000 sqft of disused office space, owned by the applicant, will need to be demolished.

All buildings and structures falling within the site have been credited as having no significant heritage value.

Images from Euro Property Investments


Euro Property Investments Ltd (Epil) operate an extensive property portfolio, with a wide range of glamorous projects undertaken within the UAE and beyond.

On U.K. shores, they've extensive experience in re-purposing and redeveloping sites in urban areas. Within Brum, the company are currently renovating Louisa Ryland House, on Newhall Street, for WeWork.

They are armed to the teeth with affluent Middle Eastern investors, but how this will translate back to the U.K. market and into the regions is anyone's guess.

Given Birmingham's unprecedented investment and construction records, will EPIL's investors make that seamless transition into the U.K. market? Only time will tell.


The building will go to planning committee soon, possibly towards the end of 2019, with demolition commencing in 2020, before construction in 2021, with a 2024 completion.

Given the exhaustive pre-planning process, this should fly through with approval.

The development will also be subject to a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) sum of over £3.7 million that will be put towards improving key infrastructure within the city.

For the time being, we'll have to play the waiting game.

All images in this article belong to Glancy Nicholls Architects

To keep up with the latest news in and around Birmingham, follow Greater Birmingham Developments on Twitter and on Instagram.

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30 passion points
Construction & regeneration
18 Sep 2019 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Introducing 211 Broad Street - a 36 storey glass build in Birmingham

Another great article from Stephen Giles, one of our people with passion in Birmingham who's following all the builds across the City.  Here Stephen introduces us to the glass tower planned at 211 Broad Street.


A new 36-storey glass tower is set join the high-rise club on Broad Street after plans were revealed recently.

Taylor Grange Developments, a Birmingham based property developer, plan to construct a ‘super slender’ block of 264 serviced apartments with hotel facilities, on land at 211 Broad Street.

The scheme has been designed by Broad Street trend-setters, Glancy Nicholls Architects, with Court Collaboration as development manager.

The project will see 33 storeys of serviced apartments with three floors of podium space intended for retail, food and drink outlets, along with a residents' lounge and gym.

Artist Impressions from Glancy Nicholls Architects

The development will be operated by an international hotel brand, who will bring a brand new presence to Birmingham.

No parking provision will be allocated, which has been deemed acceptable by Planning Officers, due to the Midland Metro Westside Phase 2 tram extension arriving in 2021.

Appropriate cycle storage will be incorporated into the scheme instead.


Today, the site is currently occupied by the unlisted Transport House and 117-118 Tennant Street at the rear. Both have been vacant since 2015 and will be not be retained.

Transport House: Image by Graham Young

They have been fully assessed, with both concluded as having low importance of evidential value, and not holding any significance worthy of preservation.

Rear of Transport House: Image by Graham Young


The application has evolved from 32 floors to 36, with the Council welcoming the design, glass and of course, the height, with a real belief that the proposal brings out the best out of the site.

And this rings true. The narrow width of the site necessitates an efficient use of the land, given the compact nature of the site.

At an incredible 9.5m in width, 211 Broad Street represents a unique opportunity for a high density ‘super-slender’ tower to not only maximise the site, but to further enhance the skyline.

Artist Impression from Glancy Nicholls Architects

There will be 8 apartments per floor, signage - presumably for the hotel operator - and a crown parapet level, taking the entire building, from base to top, up to 116.5 metres tall.


The scale of 211 Broad Street is a direct response to the built context of its surroundings.

The building will provide a natural step down from Moda, or a step up from Hilton, depending on which perspective you look from.

The connection not only comes from its height, but also through a shared rhythm of podiums and active lower levels.

Artist Impressions from Glancy Nicholls Architects

Another crucial component of the development is this active frontage facing onto Tennant Street (see below). Cycle parking is likely to be based just within.

Once a non-descript street, with little in the way of character, is now quickly becoming a crucial cog in the revitalisation of the area.

Artist Impression from Glancy Nicholls Architects


A unitised façade system will take pride of place and give the building a glass box effect, thus maximising the views out of the window. It'll ooze simpleness.

No openable windows are proposed, so the architects have once again incorporated a slot vent system into their proposal.

The system allows fresh air in, and fresh air to go out. It will be incorporated into the spandrel panels on the glazing, which has been meticulously designed to minimise the impact on the façade.


Like any site, it'll have to overcome a wide range of issues. This development is no exception.

Noise: Broad Street is the entertainment capital of the Midlands, which of course brings a few extra added layers of decibels with it.

The street has a wide array of facilities within close proximity to each other, high spec noise insulation will need to be implemented to ensure a high quality scheme remains so.

Proximity: 29m is all that separates 211 Broad Street from The Mercian next door, and just 10m from The Mercian's fourteen-storey shoulder. 

In the other direction, Hampton by Hilton lies within 30m.

During pre-app talks, the issue of overlooking onto MODA's rented units was established. The issue has since been remedied, with an agreement in place to reposition serviced apartments away from prying eyes.

Buildability: The sites narrowness poses a constraint, and then you've got crane(s) to contend with. A level of technical and structural innovation will be required to build this.


The building will feature an two extra storeys of plant level, featuring potential integrated hotel signage and a crown feature - arguably the most visible element of the entire building.

The glazed middle, however, will not be externally lit but will instead rely on internal lighting from within the apartments.

The crown will naturally hide the BMU unit (Building Maintenance Unit) and lift overruns.

This also has the potential to be visually permeable at night. 

Precedents used by the architect include 610 Lexington Avenue, in New York City.

Image by Foster & Partners

The podium will also be lit from within, providing a clean, active frontage onto the busy street.

We’ll find out how these plans pan out as the application evolves over the coming months. 

Artist Impression from Glancy Nicholls Architects

Watch this space!

Next up: 100 Broad Street

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30 passion points
Construction & regeneration
06 Sep 2019 - Stephen Giles
News & Updates

Dramatic changes planned for Westside Birmingham with the arrival of the Broad Street Cluster

We're calling it the Broad Street Cluster - a group of high builds in various stages of development in the Westside district of Birmingham.  Here's a wonderful article from Stephen which looks at the past, present and future of the big builds in Birmingham's Westside.


Broad Street is quickly turning into a corridor of huge builds, or at least, it soon will be.

Set on the edges of the city ridge, a cluster is emerging, with two of the city’s tallest residential apartment blocks on the street now complete or near near completion.

Image by Reiss Gordon Henry/ Greater Birmingham Developments

The 'Golden Mile' has long been earmarked for loftier ambitions, as per the Big City Plan & High Rises masterplan documents, with Planning chiefs actively encouraging the need for more tall buildings in prominent locations along the ridge.

More are coming too, with 2019 turning out to be a bumper year for Broad Street, with several ground-breaking proposals in recent months.


“A city should bustle. It should be full of people, of movement, of functions and activities. Providing greater opportunities for people to live and stay in the city centre will be central to a successful area and delivering greater sustainability.

The location of tall buildings needs to be handled carefully, respecting the surrounding environment and the topography. The quality of design must reflect and justify their dominant position in the built environment.

They will need to ensure they integrate into and are compatible with their surroundings; enhance skylines, views and settings; protect and preserve areas of special character and interest including principal views across the city and historic skyline; assist in the legibility of the city and contribute strongly to a sense of place and promote the highest design quality.

It will be important that such buildings have a good relationship with the street, movement patterns and transport facilities, creating high quality public space at the same time. They will need ‘breathing space’, and the creation of a publicly accessible plaza, or extension of existing public realm will be required.”

– The Big City Plan, 2010, Birmingham City Council


Back in 2005, Broad Street Tower burst onto the scene, with Richardson and Cordwell proposing a 41 storey (134m) skyscraper. It was to feature a 150-room hotel, and contain around 350 apartments.

Artist Impressions from Level Seven Architects

Over the road, Regal Property Group planned a 200.5m, 56 storey tower. This would have made it, at the time at least, the second largest building outside of London.

The mixed use development would have stood at 56 storeys, included a 289 bed hotel with 256 serviced apartments, 3 floors of penthouses set within the ‘Crown' and a parade of boutique shops on the ground floor.

Artist Impressions by Aedas Architects

These buildings never materialised, for one reason or another.


Prior planning permission was given from Birmingham City Council Planning for those sites above, thus establishing a planning precedent for tall buildings in this location.

It doesn't come as a surprise that those two plots are being developed on today.


Regal Property Group came back with new plans in 2014 - for two builds of 31 and 22 storeys, providing a total of 540 apartments across both developments, with facilities including 24-hour concierge, private gyms, lounges and a coffee bar, with ample bicycle storage, as well as a restaurant and shops.

Building Two has since been bumped up by two storeys, to 33, and now features a crown feature lit up by LED lighting.

This is scheduled for completion in November, and is already a prominent addition to the skyline, as seen below.

These buildings have now set the precedent for the future of Broad Street.

Images by Daniel Sturley

212 Broad Street aka 'The Mercian'

MODA have since turned up the heat in the Broad Street building stakes with this 42-storey development, with amenities aplenty.

The building is very much underway, with the lift shafts, refuse chute, goods lift and stairwell now peaking above the hoardings at ground level. The core will rise in the coming weeks ahead. 

The building has been designed by Birmingham's own Glenn Howells Architects.

This healthy lifestyle branded development will come with a 14 storey shoulder and a 3 storey podium, containing 481 residential apartments, with over 30,000 sqft of communal amenity space, including wellness centres and a 200m running track - a U.K.. first on a habitable building.

We can't wait to see this rise!

Artist impressions from Glenn Howells Architects


     211 Broad Street

A new 36-storey glass tower is set join the highrise club after plans were revealed recently.

Taylor Grange Developments plan to construct a £58 million ‘superslender’ block of 264 serviced apartments with hotel facilities.

The building will be an incredible 9.5m in width and has been designed by Glancy Nicholls Architects, with Court Collaboration as development manager.

The project will see 33 storeys of serviced apartments with three floors of podium space intended for retail, food and drink outlets, along with a residents' lounge and gym.

The development is expected to be operated by an international hotel brand which will bring a brand new presence to the Birmingham market.

A crown will also sit prominently at the top, with provision for external lighting highly likely.

With the Midland Metro Tram set to commence works along the route, there will be no car parking spaces. Cycle parking will be provided instead.

Artist impressions from Glancy Nicholls Architects

100 Broad Street

Out of the blue! At 61-storeys (193m), this is Birmingham's biggest yet.

I don't know who was more surprised by this development - those in the industry or those outside!

A full planning application was submitted by Euro Property Investments, the Birmingham-based company with a huge portfolio of glamorous projects within the UAE.

The building has once again been designed by Glancy Nicholls Architects.

100 Broad Street will see the demolition of the existing building on site and replaced with 503 apartments with commercial/ retail uses.

It will also incorporate a two-storey pavilion containing residents' amenities within a landscaped courtyard.

Amenity space includes a gym, work space areas, games room, cinema and a lounge with roof terrace.

For non-residents, a public sky lounge on the 58th to the 60th will feature a bar & a restaurant, both public and private.

No parking provision is provided, given the sustainable location & with the Midland Metro tram due to whiz passed in the near future.

250 cycle spaces are again provided.

Artist impressions from Glancy Nicholls Architects

Planning Officers at the City Council support this development, and have raised no objection in pre-application talks for a significant tower of this size.

And what about further ahead, Here's one to keep a close eye on!


Motto by Hilton

A move to Birmingham hasn't been made public yet, but there are rumours it's on the cards.

'Motto' is Hilton's newest affordable lifestyle brand that aims to empower guests by giving them the freedom to create their own experiences in the world’s most sought-after cities - with Birmingham firmly on that list.

Broad Street is no stranger to hotels of course, but they're coming thick and fast.

With NYX Hotel (Jury's Inn's new concept hotel on Berkley Street) approved earlier this year, it's going to be fascinating to see these rise.

It will be nestled alongside Hampton by Hilton. Certainly one to keep an eye out for.

  224 Broad Street, Lee Longlands site

An outline planning application for this site arrived in 2011 from Lee Longlands themselves. They teamed up with Glenn Howells to bring this. 

Artists Impression by Glenn Howells Architects

The approved application never materialised past the 'outline' stage of planning.

Lee Longlands - the applicant on the application -  aren't renowned property developers, so that came as no surprise.

With consent given back in 2011 for development, it's paved the way for a developer to purchase the site.

Redevelopment looks to be a foregone conclusion that not only gives Lee Longlands, at least, a brand new store to compete with their rivals, but it also allows them to secure a better return ££-wise from what is one of their best assets - the land on which they sit, in an area going through vast change.

Something big will materialise very soon, which we hope will incorporate the sites art-deco frontage. Very exciting one to watch regardless.


With operations having now moved to the Library of Birmingham, The Brasshouse is suddenly vacant.

Plans are afoot, with talk and sketches showing a sizeable development here, akin to the Bank developments.

Given the footprint of the site, one would hope if something materialises soon, that the historic Brasshouse would be incorporated into any forthcoming scheme. 

The Square

This is officially on the market, with a deadline for bidders now at an end.

The site currently comprises 55,115 sqft of occupied offices, with tenants all on short-term leases.

Birmingham City Council approved the development of 98 apartments through permitted development rights on the site, however those within the industry and close to the project anticipate a much, much larger scheme, with potentially more than 500 apartments coming forward.

See itsyourbuild construction map HERE.

The Square will sit next to 100 Broad Street.

Another biggie in the offing here? Something of significant scale will likely surface here. 

Exciting times ahead for Broad Street. Watch this space!

In the next Broad Street cluster update, we'll look more closely at 211 Broad Street

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

Past, present and future of 5 Centenary Square, Birmingham

The history and future of this build in a prime location in Birmingham is fascinating. Stephen pulls it all together in this fascinating post.


Birmingham continues to move forward as one of the country’s most successful business destinations, and with developments such at Arena Central, Centenary Square and Chamberlain Square it's easy to see why.

Latest to hit the development scene is 5 Centenary Square..

Boasting floorplates totalling 225,086 sq ft of office space over nine floors, 5 Centenary Square will also include a seventh floor external terrace overlooking the newly transformed Centenary Square.

The development is being brought forward by Make Architects and Arena Central Developments LLP - otherwise known as Kier Property, who recently purchased AC from Miller Developments.

With Centenary Square undergoing a staggering transformation, the Midland Metro Tram close to running through, and with all the major cultural attractions closeby, 5 Centenary Square represents a prime location for any potential occupier(s).


Planning consent was actually granted for this very building (then known as 1 Arena Central) at eight storeys tall. 

However, it was put on hold, with the rest of Arena Central being built up. Now it''s back, amended and firmly back on the agenda, as I'll point out below.


Make no mistake, Arena Central and its plethora of new buildings are causing a bit of a stir. The designs are bold and “out there”.

The beauty of architecture is that there's no wrong opinion. You'll either love it, or you'll absolutely loathe it.

5 Centenary Square will complete the line of frontages facing onto Centenary Square and will become a gateway into Arena Central, with Hyatt Hotel and Alpha Tower bookmarking the site on opposite sides.

With an elegant curve and a bold precast pattern, it's been designed to imitate and respect its grand old Portland Stone neighbours next door and across the square, whilst adding its own modern interpretation to proceedings.

The curve has been designed to draw people into the development and onto the landscaped ‘Serpentine’ pedestrian route.

The route will zig-zag its way through the development, finishing up on Holliday Street, but not before linking up with The Terrace & Bank Court - new public plazas yet to come, as well as secondary pedestrian routes, as seen below.


As you can see, the cladding is simple, yet effective.

Inspiration has been taken from Bridget Riley - a fine art artist. See her 'Movement in Square' piece here, and her other works here.

Her specialty is creating illusions that make flat surfaces appear rippled or curved.

Applying that to this building emphasises the curve, whilst strengthening the overall form of the building.

There are a range of options for the precast concrete panels. Final shades are yet to be confirmed. Greater Birmingham Developments will be sure to keep everyone up to date on any changes.


Vehicular access to the building is available via Bridge Street, as is the case with HSBC UK. Cars will enter and exit via the shared ramp.

A total of 68 parking spaces are to be provided at basement level, alongside charging points for electric vehicles.

Cycle storage is located on the lower ground floor, with access from the Bridge Street pavement. These will include cycle racks, showers and locker facilities.


With Centenary Square lighting up the area beautifully nowadays, this building won't be awash with light.

It'll be a case of less is more and just highlighting its best features.

The ground floor recessed entrance, as you can see in the picture above, will be uplit, providing a safe and welcoming presence.

Looking upwards, you'll notice that the balcony around the curved corner will too be illuminated, with fittings mounted on the inside face of the cladding panels.

As for the internal lights on the office floorplates. These will be switched on or off depending on the tenants’ hours of operation.


We've got an additional floor, which is being dictated by market confidence and interest from potential occupiers, impressed no doubt by the city’s ability at signing up HMRC and HSBC UK, next door.

Other changes have seen the commercial unit on the ground floor facing onto Centenary Square omitted, following feedback from these "potential" occupiers.

Active frontages will dominate though, albeit in the form of staff cafés, meeting suites or office space. The fire-fighting entrance, cycle entrance and parking exit have also been changed to improve the overall aesthetic of the building.


All pictures in this article are artists impression from Make Architects

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30 passion points
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
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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