A £5 million scheme to transform one of Birmingham's best-known office buildings into a 21st century landmark has been given the green light by planners.
Birmingham City Council has given the go-ahead to the refurbishment of Cannon House, Colmore Square.
The scheme, which will regenerate part of the city's core business district, has been put forward by Nurton Developments, which bought Priory & Cannon House in a deal funded by Allied Irish Bank in June last year for £43.25 million.
The ambitious design includes replacing the front elevations of Cannon House with state-of-the-art, fullheight glazed panels, and the creation of a new, five storey showpiece glass entrance atrium.
Situated next to 1 Colmore Square, Priory & Cannon House, whose combined floorplates of around 42,000 sq ft are the largest, single-level, commercial footprints in the city centre, provides 300,000 sq ft of offices over five floors, and ground-floor retail, with 12 units let to retailers of varying sizes, including Snow & Rock and Lloyds TSB.
The properties are situated in the city's premier office address, close to Colmore Row and major occupiers such as Wragge & Co, Direct Line Insurance, Pinsent Curtis and the Weslyan Assurance Society.
Nurton Developments director Guy Bowden said: "After originally being built as the second phase of a large carpet warehouse 45 years ago, Cannon House was later modified for office use and the dated faAade reflects the lack of attention to the building over recent years.
"As well as replacing this, internally we are taking the building back to a shell so that we can provide the quality that will bring Cannon House into the 21st century and make it suitable for the most modern of office occupiers."
Stuart Taylor, of Seymour Harris Architects, added: "Cannon House was built in the early sixties and is one of the city centre's best-known buildings, but it has been neglected and is now looking tired and drab.
"The new faAade will transform it into a modern and visually-stunning landmark, providing major prominence in the city centre."
He continued: "The glazing incorporates solar coatings, which will help reflect solar radiation, so keeping the office space cool in summer.
"Furthermore air leakage will be greatly reduced, helping to keep out cold draughts in the winter."
Coun Ken Hardeman, Birmingham City Council's cabinet member for regeneration, said: "Nurton Developments have shown vision and flair in their approach to this scheme, which is to be welcomed."
Priory House was originally built in the late 1950s for R Lunt & Co, a local carpet and textile distributor.
Cannon House was built a few years later for a rival business called Bell & Nicholson. The two manufacturers benefited from the close proximity to each another, operating independently but utilising a number of shared facilities. Today the two buildings can be used either separately or linked.