Regeneration specialist MCD Developments has acquired one of Birmingham's largest vacant office buildings - which it hopes to convert into luxury apartments in response to the unrelenting demand for city living where the Jewellery Quarter meets the financial district.

Rising to 15 storeys and sitting adjacent to BT Tower, Brindley House on Newhall Street has a total of 140,000 sq ft of office space, which has lain empty for five years since BT relocated to premises elsewhere in the city.

Built literally on stilts over the Birmingham & Fazeley canal, MCD's decision to acquire Brindley House and give the building a radical makeover was based on the success of its multi- award winning £30 million Islington Gates residential scheme located directly opposite.

Subject to discussions with city planners, MCD has assigned £40 million to transform the dilapidated office building into approximately 170 apartments, with up to 60 additional apartments expected to be accommodated on neighbouring land which has also been acquired by the Birmingham-based developer.

MCD's chief executive, Steven Byrne, said: "Brindley House is one of the most challenging redevelopment projects in Birmingham city centre.

"Whilst the building is undoubtedly a 1970's eyesore, having been constructed on stilts over the water as a 140,000 sq ft 15-storey tower, it is in fact more feasible to create a contemporary iconic development by utilising the existing structure than entering into a demolition and new-build scheme."

MCD has acquired Brindley House in association with the Royal Bank of Scotland from Telereal - the 50:50 joint venture between Land Securities Trillium and the William Pears Group, which acquired the BT property portfolio in December 2001.

Telereal received advice from CBRE's Birmingham office, whilst MCD used Mills & Reeve's Birmingham property team as solicitors.

Having only just completed the acquisition, MCD is already in intensive consultation with British Waterways over the proposed redevelopment plans as well as extensive landscaping and lighting improvements to the towpath areas.

Mike O'Sullivan, development director at MCD, said: "Unlike some other dilapidated buildings in Birmingham city centre which have recently been acquired by developers, we intend to push forward with our redevelopment proposals as soon as possible."