Regeneration specialist Argent, developer and asset manager of Brindleyplace, has confirmed the transfer of its Livingbase serviced apartment operation in Birmingham to worldwide apartment specialist SACO.
The transfer of the 35 luxury apartments strengthens SACO's presence in the city market and enables Argent to focus on its other activities, notably the development of office scheme Eleven Brindleyplace and the #2 million refurbishment of Paradise Forum. Ian Clark, from Argent, said: "The market for serviced apartments was relatively unproven when we launched Livingbase in 2003 and since then a number of new operators have established themselves.
"The market has now begun to mature and, as it does, we feel that the future success of Livingbase is reliant on being part of a wider apartment network.
"From a standing start, Livingbase has been a great success for Argent – our occupancy levels average at 80 per cent and rising – however, the timing is right to allow for its future expansion by a high quality service provider.
"This new partnership with SACO will enhance the reputation of Livingbase, boosting its profile on an international level and ensuring it continues to make a contribution to the local city economy."
Launched four years ago Livingbase comprises studio, one and two bedroom luxury apartments and spectacular double height duplexes. The apartments are located on the top floors of Eight Brindleyplace, at the heart of the city's Convention Quarter, and boast excellent views across the city centre and beyond.
The area is a popular focus of city life and guests benefit from Brindleyplace's range of attractions including cafes, restaurants, shops and amenities, as well as its close proximity to the city's financial and business core.
Argent has recently begun construction work on the Eleven Brindleyplace scheme and the building, due for completion in spring 2009, will offer 107,000 sq ft of grade A accommodation. It is located in Brunswick Square, opposite the City Inn.
It is the first new development work at the complex for nearly four years.
The company has said the development will take Brindleyplace to a new level.
Director Gary Taylor said: "We have been developing Brindleyplace since the mid-nineties and in that time we have transformed what was an industrial wasteland in an unfashionable part of the city centre into one of the top business and leisure destinations in Birmingham.
"We have tried to marry innovative design with the commercial realities of developing a scheme like Brindleyplace. The result is the cleanest, safest and most welcoming working environment in the city." The building, designed by Glenn Howells Architects, will feature a facade made of bronze adonised aluminium framing with stone panelling. SACO said it was pleased to be taking on the Livingbase base as it would expand its portfolio in the city.
Chief executive Lesley Freed said: "We have had a presence in Birmingham for some years as we already operate a luxury apartment scheme located on Hagley Road, Edgbaston.
"But the opportunity to run the Livingbase apartments, in the heart of the city, was not one to be overlooked. The scheme is complementary in many ways to our existing brand – high quality, contemporary accommodation for short through to long term stays." SACO operates the world's leading serviced apartment network. It offers serviced accommodation in more than 90 cities in more than 30 countries.
In the UK, in addition to Birmingham, the company operates serviced apartments in: London, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Nottingham.