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Sleeping Beauty: After 7 Years Empty, Birmingham Office Block Is Back In Play

Waterhouse's Sleeping Beauty

Seven is one of those fairy-tale numbers. Seven dwarves, or seven brides for seven brothers: there are endless examples. 

For one Birmingham office block, seven years of sleep is about to end, as it reawakens to potential development. Priory House, Birmingham, can at last live again.

The building, headquarters of the local forensic science service for 40 years, had acquired a reputation as one of Birmingham's most notorious "hidden spaces."

Now landlord Palace Capital has negotiated a lease surrender on the 63K SF block on Gooch Street North, seven years after Forensic Archive moved out.

The £2.85M surrender ends one of the longest and most unusual episodes in Birmingham's recent office market history, and opens the door to redevelopment.

Forensic Archive Ltd has agreed to surrender its lease which runs to December 2027 at a rent of £322K a year, and to pay effectively all rent due to expiry, totalling £2.85M. The contract for surrender will complete on 31 May 2019.

Priory House, Gooch Street North, Birmingham

Forensic Archive Ltd vacated the building in 2012 and it has remained unoccupied ever since. The lease surrender will allow Palace Capital to find new uses for the building in an increasingly tightly supplied Birmingham office scene.

"Our options for this property include a potential refurbishment or redevelopment in conjunction with the freeholder, or alternatively the sale of our leasehold interest," Palace Capital Chief Executive Neil Sinclair said.

Palace Capital acquired the leasehold until December 2027 at a rental of £100 a year from Quintain in October 2013 as part of the Sequel Portfolio. As at 30 September, the company’s interest in Priory House was valued at £2.2M.