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The Party's Over: Birmingham Office Resurgence Trumps Troubled Leisure Sector


Are office values now accelerating ahead of leisure property values, thanks to post-pandemic confidence in a reborn Birmingham office market?

The transformation of a former city centre bar into workspace suggests it is. The rethink offers landlords the prospect of stable income from office users, rather than the revolving door of here today-gone tomorrow leisure operators.

Aegon Asset Management has taken the former leisure space on the ground floor as part of the refurbishment of 39-52 Summer Row, on the fringe of the city’s Jewellery Quarter. The block now provides 24K SF of office floorspace.

The address has a chequered history in the leisure sector. The past five years of uncertainty follow the collapse of landlord Town and Country Inns in late 2016.

39-52 Summer Row, Birmingham — from drinking place to working place

The Machu nightclub operated on the site for 14 years until 2017, blaming roadworks associated with the Paradise office development for its demise. It briefly and confusingly reappeared on the site a few years later, only to evaporate once again.

That year it was operating as Apres, a cocktail bar before morphing into Texan Roadhouse, which itself vanished by summer 2018. 

In the meantime plans emerged from celebrity chef Aktar Islam, who operated a restaurant in the former nightclub part of the premises, to convert the entire building into a restaurant with 52-room boutique hotel above. The aim was to open by late 2019. This did not happen.

The office sector has now come to the rescue. Design consultancy Office Principles stripped the building back to shell and core, introduced a new first-floor link bridge, and created a new ground-floor ‘hub’ with a double level atrium reception area, feature lighting, exposed services and decoration throughout.

There are new flexible meeting rooms, breakout spaces and a kitchen area, as well as secure cycle storage, dedicated shower and changing facilities, and a central courtyard for events, functions and outdoor meetings. 

The building has been rebranded as Lock 14.