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As New 246K SF Scheme Unveiled, Market Asks If Birmingham's Office Market Is Healthy?

The new 'celebrity' gym at Three Snowhill

Q3 take-up figures for Birmingham’s office market, due in the next fortnight, are likely to show flickering life in the city’s central business district. There is a weak but steady pulse and the patient is conscious. But is it healthy?

Ballymore has signed the operator of a ‘celebrity gym’ for 10K SF on a 10-year lease: a substantial investment in the idea that central Birmingham’s office scene is alive and kicking, and will be for some time to come.

MK Health Hub is bringing its health and fitness concept to the city, and will open in January 2021 following a £1M fit-out at the 420K SF speculative Three Snowhill. The Hub’s celebrity clientele is said by the operators to include Premier League footballers, Olympic gold medallists and chart toppers Little Mix and Demi Lovato.  

The business will feed off the 4,000 BT personnel moving into offices on the site late this year.

Farther out of town there are also signs of muscles twitching. SevenCapital has secured two new lets at its newly refurbished 71K SF Lyndon House, Hagley Road. Two modest but, in the current climate significant, deals see MoreMicro sign up for 2.1K SF and insurance startup Bletchley take 750 SF.

“These two lettings demonstrate the unwavering appetite within Birmingham to keep business moving and get back to the office — where it is safe to do so,” SevenCapital director Simon Dicken said. 

“Whilst we still have a little work left to complete, the majority of the building has now been refurbished and we are actively working to secure further lets over the coming months.”

But the biggest sign of faith comes tellingly from a government-backed developer.

Perhaps inspired by the government’s demand for shovel-ready projects, London & Continental Railways is pressing on with plans for its Axis site.

The developer has been nurturing plans for 1.2M SF of new office floorspace on the 4.2-acre Axis site near Arena Central since 2014.

It has now applied for permission for a 246K SF, 14-storey block on the Holliday Street site. The existing 2017 consent for demolition expired in April 2020.

Dungeon or gym? The new main weights room at Three Snowhill's health club

The 14-storey Four Axis Square is unusual in that the developer is a public sector body. LCR is a public corporation solely owned by the UK Department for Transport. 

London & Continental paperwork submitted to planners said that the Axis Square scheme will be in two phases: demolition of the existing block and Four Axis Square is phase one, with Axis Two, Axis Three and Axis Five coming in phase two, with Axis Three first to start. The planning paperwork does not suggest the exact floor areas.

Axis House was built in 1976 and refurbished as recently as 2002. The 175K SF block has tenants including Atkins, British Transport Police and various government offices.