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Midland Bank building to become first Cosy Club in Birmingham

Historic Bennetts Hill building, which was designed by Thomas Rickman and completed in 1835, set for new future

The former Midland Bank branch at 33 Bennetts Hill
The former Midland Bank headquarters at 33 Bennetts Hill

The historic Birmingham building which was home to the original Midland Bank branch will be transformed into a Cosy Club café-bar after a deal was struck.

It means a new future for the Bennetts Hill building, which was designed by Thomas Rickman and completed in 1835.

Bristol-based Loungers has agreed a 25-year lease on the ground floor of the landmark which is at the heart of Birmingham’s financial heritage but more recently was used as offices.

The deal comes after city firm Real Estate Investors (REI) bought the property for £1.5 million last April. It will now undergo £200,000 of work to repair its roof and façade and clean it.

Simultaneously, Loungers will begin a substantial fit-out with the opening date thought to be this spring.

REI revealed it had agreed a 25-year lease with no breaks which would start off with a rental of £135,000 a year.

It means another restaurant brand in that part of the city following on from the likes of Pure Bar and Fumo which have opened in recent years and ahead of the new outlet being opened by Indian restaurant group Lasan at nearby 130 Colmore Row.

REI senior asset manager Ian Clark said the deal was struck at the same time as the office space upstairs went under offer to an occupier, so effectively the entire building will be fully let.

“There was significant interest in this building because of its central location and historic context and we are delighted to have concluded a deal with Loungers to bring The Cosy Club brand to Birmingham,” he said.

The Cosy Club at the Grade II-listed building will serve food and drink from 9am to 10pm each day.

The company said it would offer a “quirky” atmosphere, with battered old club chairs, sleek 1930s sofas and a splash of taxidermy, for casual dining with comfort food and a selection of beers, wine and cocktails on offer.

Loungers also runs “The Lounge” café-bar chain which has venues in the West Midlands in Sutton Coldfield, Shirley, Wylde Green, Kings Heath and Harborne.

The deal was struck as REI was completing arrangements to be converted to a real estate investment trust (REIT) – a special structure for companies which operate income-producing real estate.

Chief executive Paul Bassi said the decision was made in order to reward investors in the business in the best and most efficient manner.

Mr Bassi said: “With our conversion to a REIT which will benefit all our investors announced on January 1, this is a great way to kick-off the New Year with a significant city centre letting in what is a landmark building.

“Our contracted annual rental income continues to grow and we are very pleased that the remaining space is under offer, which will further grow our rent roll.

“Interest in Birmingham is growing. The West Midlands is increasingly seen as a happy hunting ground for investors seeking value outside of the overblown areas of the South East and we expect to make more announcements as the new year progresses.”

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