The world's largest architectural firm Gensler has announced at the MIPIM real estate conference in France plans to open an office in Birmingham.
Up to 50 jobs will be created after Gensler revealed an office in Birmingham was the first step in a major UK expansion plan.
The firm confirmed at the MIPIM conference in Cannes that it is currently assessing the suitability of key locations in the city, and will make a “significant investment”.
The move has been praised as a significant coup for the city as the new office will be the firm’s first UK base outside of London.
Gensler managing director Ian Mulcahey said he had been impressed with plans for Birmingham
He said: “Birmingham has become a key part of our strategic growth plans.
"We hadn’t considered Birmingham as a location before, but following our meetings we were impressed by the city’s ambitions to create a globally competitive business environment – and the commitment of its public and private sectors to realising them.
“When we visited earlier this year, Business Birmingham, the council and representatives from across the city’s business community were very welcoming and keen to show the real potential that exists in Birmingham for a world-leading architectural practice.
“They highlighted the city’s investment pipeline, its track record of iconic developments and the fact that Birmingham’s public and private sectors pull together to support new businesses and investors.
“The scale of opportunity and the spirit of partnership that came across was enough to convince us that Birmingham was the place for our first UK regional office.”
Gensler is among the major players in the global architecture and design market, employing 2,500 people across more than 30 locations.
It has been involved with prestigious developments including the Roland Garros Stadium, the home of the French Open tennis tournament, and was the master planner of Blackpool’s plans for a conference and casino quarter.
Speaking from MIPIM, Mike Whitby, leader of Birmingham City Council, said he was pleased with how talks with Mr Mulcahey had progressed.
He said: “We held exploratory talks in Birmingham earlier this year regarding a major investment in the city and now – on the Birmingham stand at MIPIM – we are talking about the finalisation of that deal.”
Business Birmingham, the city’s inward investment programme, has been working closely with Gensler since late last year to secure the investment.
Marek Dobrowolski, investment manager at Business Birmingham, said the scale of Birmingham’s Big City Plan – its 20 year development vision – and the potential of the city centre enterprise zone had helped tempt the firm.
He said: “Bringing Gensler to Birmingham is a major success – the firm is a global player in the property sector and their designs are lauded as changing how people interact with their workplace.
“The decision to make Birmingham Gensler’s first UK regional base speaks volumes about how the city is now viewed by the industry.”
Senior executives visited Birmingham earlier this year to meet with council officials and representatives from the city’s business community to learn more about current market opportunities.
Ian Stringer, regional senior director at property firm GVA, said: “The announcement that Gensler will locate its first regional office in Birmingham is a huge vote of confidence for the city’s property market and will further boost its global business reputation.
“Gensler is a major player and its investment could have a significant halo effect for Birmingham.”