Chord Developments has awarded Costains the £20 contract to design and build its latest mixed-use scheme in Birmingham.

The Solihull-based construction and engineering giant will start building 177 apartments and 30,000 sq ft of office space in April, following clearance at the St Paul's Square site.

More than 100 jobs will be created over the course of the 18 month build programme.

The new scheme, St Paul's Place, is the biggest residential development in the historic square and will breathe new life into a derelict factory fronting the eighteenth century St Paul's Church.

The 177 Jewellery Quarter apartments will include a range of studios, one and twobed apartments and two penthouses, set around two spectacular internal courtyards.

The 1.9 acre site fronts St Paul's Square and is bounded by Northwood Street, Caroline Street and James Street. Pedestrian access will be off St Paul's Square, with vehicular access to each of the three other aspects. The scheme was designed by Chord's in-house team and will combine the character of a period building with cutting-edge architecture and interior design.

The St Paul's Square front-age will incorporate the former Thomas Walker building and overlooks the church. Although not listed, the 1920s red brick facade of the former buckle manufacturer is to be retained by the developer, as it is in keeping with St Paul's Square and is typical of the Jewellery Quarter's industrial architecture. A former scrap metal yard and vacant industrial premises at the rear of the development will be demolished to make way for the scheme.

There will be two private courtyards at the heart of the scheme. Gardens will be accessed via a footbridge from the underground car park, or from the marble entrance hall off St Paul's Square.

Steve Mason, director at Chord Developments, said: "It is more than two years since Chord acquired the St Paul's site. Costains' appointment means we can now move our plans off the drawing board and into reality, creating what we hope will be the Jewellery Quarter's most prestigious residential scheme."

The scheme has received the thumbs up from Coun Ken Hardeman, Birmingham City Council cabinet member for regeneration.

He said: "This development will be a major boost for our unique Jewellery Quarter. It preserves the character of the conservation area while adding a modern dimension to the city living element. Retaining the historically important element of the Thomas Walker factory is a great bonus."

Chord has committed itself to spend £60,000 to improve lighting in St Paul's Square, and to install CCTV.

Chord Homes has worked with the Royal Bank of Scot-land to deliver the scheme. The developer is currently onsite on another Jewellery Quarter development. JQ One, on the corner of Newhall Street and George Street, comprises 43 apartments, more than half of which have sold off-plan a year ahead of the scheme's completion.

The apartments at St Paul's Place will be priced from £125,000 - £900,000, with offices from £250 per sq ft. Chord says the development will be ready for occupation from summer next year.