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Birmingham BTR Developers Will Focus On Amenities As Locked-Down Tenants Rethink

The octagonal tower now planned for Birmingham's Paradise scheme.

Eight sides, 49 storeys and 346 homes. The new Octagon build-to-rent tower proposed for Birmingham’s Paradise development has been unveiled.

The developer, a partnership of Birmingham City Council and Hermes Investment Management, with Argent as development manager, said it will be the tallest octagonal tower in the world. This isn’t as much of a boast as it sounds, since there’s only one other tower in the running, the 404 foot Tower Life Building in San Antonio, Texas.

The Paradise design by Glen Howells Architects is 510 feet tall, with each side 43 feet wide.

The eye-catching shape has been chosen to mark the office-led Paradise’s pivot into the build-to-rent market. It will be built on a relatively constrained plot currently occupied by the 77 Paradise Circus Queensway office building, fronting Summer Row. Hermes and its partners announced the pivot to residential on the site, originally slated for 120K SF offices, in March 2020.

If planning permission is granted this summer, and the post-pandemic economy is strong enough to cope, construction work could begin next year for completion by 2024. 

Simultaneously, a planning application has been submitted for the first apartments at the Port Loop development. The Mansion House element of the application will comprise 58 apartments across five six-storey buildings, all of which will enjoy a waterfront location overlooking the Worcester and Birmingham Canal. The project involves BTR along with other tenures.

As new schemes ready themselves, one of the leading BTR managers said existing schemes face a challenge. The first wave of rent renewals this summer will reveal the direction of travel as the experience of lockdown has its effect, according to residential property management specialist urbanbubble.

Managing Director Michael Howard said people working from city-centre BTR apartments under stay-at-home restrictions will use lease renewals in late spring and early summer to move to properties that provide facilities allowing them to work, live and play at a higher quality level of comfort and enjoyment.

They will put a premium on balconies or roof gardens, fast and reliable broadband, dedicated home working space and access to communal social space where social distancing can be safely practised, he said.

Urbanbubble has about 11,000 properties under management in England for clients including Legal & General.

Port Loop is being delivered by developers Urban Splash and Places for People, alongside the charity Canal & River Trust and Birmingham City Council.