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This Is What A Birmingham Office Market Bounceback Looks Like

One Centenary Way, part of Birmingham's Paradise development

The Birmingham office market seems to be back in business, after a single day saw a 68K SF letting to Arup and a 12K SF signing to wealth managers Tilney Smith & Williamson.

The moves — which mean almost as much space was transacted in 24 hours as the city’s office market managed in the entire half year from September 2020 to March 2021 — revives hopes that the city’s office scene is bouncing back.

The Birmingham office market picked up speed in Q2 2021, with transactions totalling 203K SF. This followed two of the most disappointing quarters on record: Q4 2020 reached just 40K SF, and Q1 2021 was barely better at 50K SF.

The Arup deal showed how occupiers are rethinking their needs as hybrid working goes mainstream. The consultancy is taking 13% less space than the 90K SF Solihull campus it replaces.

Arup is the first occupier to commit to One Centenary Way, under construction at the 2M SF Paradise scheme. Arup’s office will range over three floors of the new 13-storey building, which is due to complete in early 2023, and which the developers intend to be an international hub for collaboration.

The Paradise redevelopment is being brought forward through Paradise Circus Limited Partnership, a private-public joint venture with Birmingham City Council. The private sector funding is being managed by the international business of Federated Hermes, which has partnered with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board on the first phase of the development. MEPC is the development manager. 

Developer IM Properties sold Arup’s Solihull offices in 2017 in a deal reported to be worth £23.5M. The campus at Blythe Valley Park was bought by a Middle Eastern investor. Arup has occupied the offices since they were built in 2001.

Tilney Smith & Williamson's Stephen Drew and Sterling Property Ventures' James Howarth

Tilney Smith & Williamson, a wealth management and professional services group, is to merge its existing Birmingham operations into a new single office at 103 Colmore Row as part of its growth ambitions for the Midlands. 

The company has agreed a 10-year lease on 12K SF on the 14th floor of the 26-storey building created by Tristan Capital Partners and Sterling Property Ventures. The rent is undisclosed. 

Tilney Smith & Williamson will have access to the members’ business club on the 18th floor, where it can hold seminars, presentations and outdoor events on the 3K SF terrace. 

103 Colmore Row is scheduled for practical completion in October.