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BT Gives Birmingham A Banging Start To 2020, And Why There's More To Come

Three Snowhill, Birmingham

The year has started with a bang for the Birmingham office market.

BT has taken a 20-year lease on 238K SF of Ballymore/M&G Real Estate’s speculative Three Snowhill.

The 400K SF block was selected after a process led by JLL. The telecoms giant will move 4,000 staff into the new suite by the end of 2020.

"The Snowhill estate has been a 16-year project for Ballymore, creating 1M SF of offices, award-winning public realm and a new business quarter for the city," Ballymore Chairman Sean Mulryan said. "It’s reflective of all our partners’ hard work that BT has chosen Three Snowhill ahead of its completion.”

The BT move is part of its workplaces for the future programme, and follows similar moves in Manchester, where it signed up for 200K SF at English Cities Fund’s New Bailey scheme, Salford, and took another 116K SF of short-term accommodation in a deal with Spaces.

“Our new building in Birmingham will become a strategic hub location for BT in the UK with a considerable increase in the number of colleagues we employ based in the city,” BT Managing Director For Property Graeme Paton said.

Ballymore began the comprehensive redevelopment of The Snowhill Estate in 2006, delivering the first two buildings by 2013.

In 2014, M&G Real Estate acquired Two Snowhill and in 2016 M&G financed the third phase of the Snowhill development.

The deal comes as figures from the authoritative Birmingham Office Market Forum reveal 2019 city centre take-up at 781K SF in 116 deals. Q4 2019 totalled 105K SF.

The figure is fractionally ahead of the 754K SF recorded in 2018, and exceeds the 10-year average, but falls behind the 1M SF recorded in 2017, the only time Birmingham take-up has exceeded 1M SF.

“Office enquiries remain encouraging moving into 2020," Birmingham Office Market Forum Chairman Jonathan Carmalt said. "With low levels of grade A supply, the delivery of the next generation of new build developments will be well received with both Three Snowhill and 2 Chamberlain Square, Paradise completing at the start of the year and 103 Colmore Row also progressing at a pace.” 

A government announcement that they intend to proceed with the HS2 high speed rail line is expected to stimulate further deals and release pent-up demand for new Birminghham office floorspace.