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Office construction in Birmingham reaches 13-year peak

Latest 'Crane Survey' research shows signs of major uplift in the volume of working taking place across the city

Office construction has hit a 13-year peak in Birmingham, with almost a million square feet being built, according to a new report.

The latest Deloitte Birmingham Crane Survey also reveals an increase in leisure and retail developments in the city, on the back of growing investor interest, and a huge surge in hotels with 690 rooms being built.

In all, 969,000 sq ft of office space is under construction - the equivalent of almost 15 football pitches - compared to an average of 384,000 sq ft a year over the last decade.

Among the major schemes is the Grade II-listed 55 Colmore Row and the old NatWest Tower which is set to become a landmark office and retail development.

It is also a far cry from the historic low volume of office construction in the 2013 Crane Survey of 14,000 sq ft.

Edwin Bray, lead partner of Deloitte Real Estate in the Midlands, said: "This is an incredibly positive report in many ways and reflects the sentiment towards Birmingham and the wider Midlands region that we are seeing across our firm and client-base, not just here in the UK, but globally.

"The Midlands Engine is roaring loud and clear and the year-on-year improvements and investments, such as the £600 million refurbishment of New Street Station, the Grand Central shopping centre and the new Midlands Metro, just continue to strengthen the city's offer."

Soaring levels of office construction come on the back of a resurgence in take-up, which reached 732,000 sq ft in the first three quarters of last year, the highest level since 2008.

Of the space under construction, 32 per cent is already let.

Mr Bray said the Colmore Row district remained very attractive to investors, whilst more peripheral locations have become more established and are generating serious interest.

The report also revealed hotel construction has been three times higher than the ten-year average. In addition, student accommodation development in the city centre has returned after two years of inactivity.

The areas that have seen a fall in the latest Deloitte report are construction of new education facilities, with just one recorded, residential completions, with none recorded.

The overall number of new schemes - a total of nine - fell from 11 last year.

However, there are a number of schemes in the residential sector that are nearing construction start with 12 development sites across the city centre having been identified for residential development.

Pauline Biddle, practice senior partner for Deloitte in the Midlands, added: "This latest Deloitte Crane Survey shows that the bridge between London and the regions in the recent economic downturn appears to have strengthened, with confidence in Birmingham and other regional centres improving year-on-year.

"This has been reinforced by the commitments from some of the world's biggest brands to relocate and expand their Birmingham operations and the Chancellor’s latest announcement of a £1.1 billion devolution package."



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