The first building of the £700 million Paradise development in Birmingham has topped out, almost two years to the day from when the initial demolition of the site began.
Just days after PwC announced plans to take all of the commercial office space, PwC Midlands Regional Chair, Matthew Hammond, led the topping out ceremony of One Chamberlain Square by officially finishing off the last section of concrete on the eighth floor. He was joined by representatives from funders Hermes Investment Management and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), development manager Argent, construction contractor Carillion, Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, together with the wider project team.
Designed by Eric Parry Architects, the eight storey, 172,000 sq ft building overlooks Chamberlain Square, one of the most vibrant and well-known locations in the city, and sits across from Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the Town Hall. The building has been fully let to leading professional services firm PwC. As well as relocating its existing 1,400-strong Birmingham team from Cornwall Court in summer 2019, the building has the potential to accommodate an additional 1,000 people as PwC grows across the Midlands.
Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr Ian Ward, said: “Paradise is another example of Birmingham delivering on its growth, skills and jobs agenda. This exceptional development perfectly reflects the confidence and ambition of the city as a leading business destination with an international reputation for quality and innovation.
“The scheme also reflects the very best of a successful public/private partnership, bringing to life the Big City Plan and delivering growth in the Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone. The pace at which Paradise is moving forward and the quality of the architecture being brought to life at the very heart of this city is tremendously exciting.
“The scheme is recognised as one of the most important commercial developments in the UK outside London and in just two years we have seen connectivity across the city centre open up, the roads realigned and now, the buildings making a very visible impact on the skyline.”
Matthew Hammond, Midlands Regional Chair at PwC, said: “Our team is excited and eager to experience PwC’s new home in the heart of Birmingham, the Midlands and the country. With its high quality space and central location in the city’s newest and foremost commercial development, One Chamberlain Square represents a blueprint for our larger regional office model, with a tech-enabled, flexible environment that provides an exceptional visitor experience for our clients and a great working environment for our people. We’re looking forward to continue working closely with the Argent team to deliver this innovative landmark building.”
One Chamberlain Square features an elegant, curved external structure, effectively using a variety of materials to complement the neighbouring civic architecture. As well as plans for top quality restaurant and retail uses on the ground floor of the building, the large roof terrace on the sixth floor offers spectacular views across the city.
Chris Taylor, Head of Private Markets at Hermes Investment Management, said:
“The topping out of the first building to be completed at Paradise marks a significant step in the delivery of the scheme, which is transforming Birmingham city centre into a leading and competitive international city. We have seen strong momentum at the development, having recently announced that PwC will be taking the entirety of the commercial office space at One Chamberlain Square to accommodate the firm’s continued growth.
“We remain committed to investing in regeneration and placemaking to create places where people want to work, live and socialise, while also attracting and retaining talent in the regions.”
Rob Groves, Regional Director at Argent, said: “This is a big moment for both Paradise and Birmingham. We have achieved so many milestones over the past 10 years, but this one feels the most significant and reflects the huge momentum built on this vastly significant scheme.
“Following the fantastic recent news that PwC has now committed to all of the office space in One Chamberlain Square, we are looking forward to continuing the collaborative approach with PwC to deliver the best space to work. From this point forward, the scheme will really start to come to life as we count down to the official handover of the building to PwC in spring 2019.”
Demolition on the site began on 14 December 2015 and now, two years on, the physical frame of the first of up to ten new buildings has reached its highest point. More than half a million hours and a team of over 120 construction workers have helped deliver the building to this point. Work will now focus on making the structure watertight before the internal works commence. A total of 1,140 floor to ceiling window panels will be installed in the building while 12,110 cubic metres of concrete has gone into the frame since construction began in summer 2016.
Simon Dingle, Operations Director at Carillion, said: “One Chamberlain Square represents the very latest in design and delivery implementation and we’re proud to have reached this construction milestone. The overall Paradise scheme is a very complex project in a city centre environment which creates significant location and engineering challenges. Working with Argent and the full design team, we are now ready to move onto the next phase of delivery as we start the internal construction phase and fit out.”
Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said: “It is hard to state just how important this development is to the ongoing economic success of Birmingham and the West Midlands. Visitors and people who work in Birmingham have been very patient with the huge building site in the middle of the city. Now, I hope, they can see the progress being made on creating a place which will effectively link all parts of the city together. It will be worth the wait.
“The news earlier this month that PwC has now taken the whole building we are topping out today and will eventually house up to 2,300 staff here is a huge vote of confidence, not just in the work of all of the partners involved in Paradise but also in the upbeat attitude of our commercial sector.”
At 1.8 million square feet, Paradise will deliver up to ten new flagship buildings, offering offices, shops, bars, cafés, restaurants and a four star hotel across 17 acres. Demolition of the former Birmingham Conservatoire and Fletcher’s Walk is now underway to allow for phase two of the scheme to progress.
The Paradise redevelopment is being brought forward through Paradise Circus Limited Partnership (PCLP), a private-public joint venture with Birmingham City Council. The private sector funding is being managed by Hermes Investment Management which has partnered with CPPIB on the first phase of the development. Argent is the development manager.
A website showcasing the vision for Paradise, in addition to a live time-lapse camera, can be viewed at www.paradisebirmingham.co.uk.