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Birmingham Office Market's New Normal Begins To Look A Bit Like Old Normal

Broadway, Five Ways, Birmingham: New home to The Binding Site

The public sector, science occupiers and flexible workspace combined to return Birmingham’s Q2 city-centre office market to some kind of normality. 

Office take-up in the spring quarter of 2021 totalled 204K SF in 24 deals, the Birmingham Office Market Forum said.

This takes the first half total to 253K SF.

Signs of recovery are long overdue and welcome, but the city has a long march ahead of it. In the same period before the coronavirus pandemic, performance was appreciably stronger.

Birmingham's office market transacted 320K SF in the second quarter of 2019. Thirty further deals took first half 2019 take-up to 515K SF, more than double the figure reported for H1 2021.

Standout deals in the first half of 2021 included IWG’s signing for 50K SF at the Mailbox and the British Transport Police taking 17K SF at Baskerville House.

The deal that made the difference was medical instrumentation group Binding Site’s decision to take 98K SF at SevenCapital’s Broadway office building, Five Ways. This included 36K SF of pure office floorspace.

If BOMF had chosen to include the entire deal as an office transaction, the Q2 total would have been 256K SF.

“It is encouraging that at this stage of the recovery the central Birmingham office market has recorded the highest quarter of office take-up since before the pandemic, and which exceeds the long-term market average,” BOMF officer and JLL Director Jonathan Carmalt said.

The pace is expected to be maintained into the summer quarter, with a number of significant deals in the pipeline. 

“Whilst we have seen most sectors of demand represented there has been notable take-up from the public sector and the flex market, a trend that was widely anticipated at this stage of occupiers returning to their offices,” Carmalt said.

Edgbaston-based The Binding Site, which specialises in immunodiagnostic tests and instruments, agreed a 15-year lease with SevenCapital.

Binding Site will keep its current headquarters whilst expanding across six floors within the Broadway building, which was previously occupied by Tesco and HMRC

The agreement will see the former Tesco space on the ground floor reconfigured into a large production laboratory facility, whilst the four floors immediately above will remain as commercial office space. 

Work to reconfigure the ground floor into laboratory space is expected to begin in the autumn and Binding Site expects to start to occupy the fully renovated facilities in early 2022.