Birmingham has hit the lottery jackpot with the largest city centre office letting in three years.
Wrenbridge, the Palmer Capital Partners-backed development company, has signed the Big Lottery Fund for its high profile, 58,000 sq ft Apex House office scheme in Edgbaston.
The landmark building will become a new operational centre for the Big Lottery Fund, the UK's largest distributor of lottery money.
The expansion is a result of the fund's decision to establish key operational centres in Birmingham and Newcastle to lead in distributing Lottery cash, a role previously carried out in London and eight other regional centres.
Stephen Dunmore, chief executive of Big Lottery Fund, said the investment was a positive outcome of the Lyons Review, which identified and promoted the relocation of civil service jobs from London.
"We opened our Newcastle office in May and have looked at several other cities as potential locations for a second. We were very impressed with Birmingham's many facilities, excellent transport links and high calibre employment potential," he added.
Big Lottery Fund plans to re-locate to Apex House in December. The move will bring up to 200 new jobs and comes within a month of The Gambling Commission setting up in Victoria Square House, in Birmingham city centre.
Jamie Hockaday, the development director at Wrenbridge responsible for the original acquisition and letting, said Big Lottery Fund was attracted to the building for a number of reasons, including its excellent location, extensive car parking facilities and because the headline rent represented a discount of almost #15 per sq ft on prime alternative locations in the city centre with no compromise on specification.
Alex Price, fund manager of the #200 million Palmer Capital Development Fund, which financed the development, also said: "We are delighted to have secured such a prestigious tenant and we believe the project will generate exceptional returns to our investors.
"This was the first acquisition in the fund and we have not yet agreed a sale of the investment. However despite rumours about the letting to a Government Covenant, we do expect a sale of the investment in the next few weeks."
David Tonks, head of Birmingham office agency DTZ who advised Big Lottery Fund on their move to Apex House, added: "The deal represents the largest office letting in central Birmingham for almost three years and is a massive boost for the Edgbaston office market.
"We are confident it will act as a catalyst for major investment in the area where plans currently being considered include a major new shopping centre providing 160,000 sq ft of Grade A office space, a 100-bedroom extension to the Marriott and 100,000 sq ft of retail and leisure facilities."
King Sturge were retained and DTZ acted for The Big Lottery Charities Fund.
Wragge & Co's real estate group also advised Wren-bridge - handling a lease agreement with the National Lottery Charities Board.
The deal is worth over #1 million a year in rent.