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.
Attending the ceremony, Mayor for the West Midlands Andy Street said the scheme was yet another example of the upbeat attitude of the region’s commercial sector.
Just days after PwC announced plans to take all of the commercial office space, The Mayor joined PwC Midlands Regional Chair, Matthew Hammond, who led the topping out of One Chamberlain Square by officially finishing off the last section of concrete on the eighth floor.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street (left) with PwC Midlands Regional Chair, Matthew Hammond and Cllr Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council
Also attending were representatives from funders Hermes Investment Management and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), development manager Argent, construction contractor Carillion and Birmingham City Council.
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 Mayor 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.”
One Chamberlain Square has already 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.
It 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.
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.
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.
Mr Hammond added: “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.”
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.