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Planning approval received for new mixed-use Exchange Square development at Masshouse

wantspacegotspace.co.uk - office development Birmingham - Planning approval received for new mixed-use Exchange Square development at MasshouseOutline planning consent has been received for the second phase of property developer Nikal’s Masshouse development in Birmingham.

Named Exchange Square, the site has received clearance for the development of 600,000 sq ft of Grade A commercial space across two buildings, ground floor retail, and a 200 bed hotel and apartments, all set around a new public realm.

Providing a natural extension to Birmingham’s existing core and connecting the city to the on-going regeneration of Eastside, Exchange Square is designed to be delivered in phases, with the public square and any of the site’s three planned buildings able to be brought forward, depending on market demand.

James Payne, Development Director, Nikal, which has sole ownership of the site, said: “We are naturally delighted with the decision by Birmingham City Council to grant outline planning consent for this scheme. Exchange Square represents one of only a few deliverable solutions to the perceived upcoming shortage of Grade A space in Birmingham over the next two years. With a cleared site and infrastructure in place, we could achieve completion of any of the planned buildings within just 18 months.

“While the quantum of space itself has remained unchanged, we have worked closely with Glenn Howells Architects to ensure that the layout of the site conformed both practically and aesthetically to the design that we had in mind for the space.  We are now looking forward to developing detailed plans for each of the buildings in what will become one of Birmingham’s best business addresses.”
Situated in the City Centre Enterprise Zone, Exchange Square is well positioned to be served by both existing and planned transport services and with the site already cleared, no demolition works will be necessary to prepare it for construction.

Power will be provided to the site via the existing Combined Heat and Power generator at Aston University, which already provides heating and hot water to Nikal’s award-winning Hive residential development, part of the first phase of the Masshouse masterplan.
Originally granted planning consent in 2008, the plans for Exchange Square were revised and resubmitted to Birmingham City Council following changes to the wider economic climate and the announcement of a number of key infrastructure projects within the city, including the Big City Plan, which had not been implemented at the time of the original submission.

A masterplan for all key developments within Birmingham, the Big City Plan includes a number of key investments in the city’s infrastructure, including the £600 million redevelopment of New Street Station, construction of the Library of Birmingham, extension to the Midland Metro and construction of the City Park.
The resubmitted application also makes allowances for the delayed Magistrates Court, which was the original anchor-use sited for the first phase of Masshouse.

Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “I have been a longstanding advocate of the redevelopment of Eastside, which I have always felt was a sadly overlooked and neglected part of the city. With companies like Nikal developing forward-thinking, truly 21st Century schemes like Exchange Square, I am convinced that we are now moving in the right direction with the on-going development of this site.”

One of the key alterations over the original plan sees movement of the proposed square that will open up the development, creating a more inviting environment and enhances the pedestrian route connecting the City Park and HS2 to the Colmore Business District and Snow Hill area.

Alongside the transfer of the public square, other noticeable changes to the original application include alterations to the office buildings, which have been reconfigured to offer larger floorplates across fewer floors in order to meet market demand and present a practical and appealing offer to occupiers.
Exchange Square is located adjacent to Nikal’s completed residential scheme which comprises over 340 residential units across two buildings, including Hive, which was named Best UK High Rise Development at the 2011 UK Property Awards.

Joint agents for Exchange Square are Jones Lang LaSalle and GBR Phoneix Beard. Savills acted on behalf of Nikal during the planning stage.

Posted by The Editor (wantspacegotspace) on 10th December 2012 (updated 11/12/2012)

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