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Bruntwood Opts For An Even Bigger Gamble At Innovation Birmingham

Birmingham's new science campus

Bruntwood SciTech has submitted a planning application for a 120K SF extension of the Innovation Birmingham campus.

The move is substantially more ambitious than that originally trailed in 2018 when Bruntwoopd acquired the 80K SF Innovation Birmingham site. At the time a 90K SF development was anticipated.

Work is expected to start on-site early in 2020, with the building opening in late 2021.

The new £30M development at Enterprise Wharf is intended to stimulate Birmingham’s growing tech cluster. In the West Midlands Combined Authority alone, digital and tech employment is expected to rise from just over 70,000 to 84,000 jobs.

The building will serve as a hub for the campus, providing companies with full access to a wide range of social events, business support programmes and meetup groups, all designed to connect innovators and help them grow.

Innovation Birmingham is next to both Aston University and Birmingham City University.

“Innovation Birmingham [has] a proven track record of helping over 250 businesses start and scale and creating more than 500 jobs for the region," Bruntwood SciTech Birmingham Managing Director David Hardman said. "Connecting startups with corporates and the public sector is crucial to innovation, Enterprise Wharf will expand our innovative community and help the sector flourish in our region.” 

Agents Avison Young and Savills UK have been appointed on the scheme. The development is designed by Associated Architects, with planning consultancy from Turley.

The Innovation Birmingham announcement came as Bruntwood unveiled its annual results. The family-owned property empire reported a serious dip in profits at Bruntwood Group Ltd from £116M to £52M. The trend is firmly down, representing a fall of 27% since 2017's figure of £71.6M.

"[Profit] was down on the prior year, but ahead of expectations and reflective of the re-risked nature of the group; the percentage of the company’s capital allocated to development was reduced to a third of the level of the previous year, largely as a result of the introduction of Legal & General as a JV partner," Bruntwood said in a statement to the media.

The figures also showed a sharp 16.6% lift in turnover, which topped £160M, up from £137.7M. The total value of the portfolio ticked up by another £100M to £1.4B.

Bruntwood SciTech is a 50:50 joint venture between Bruntwood and Legal & General.