Birmingham office market research — Quarter 3 2023
Lloyds Bank topped the quarter with the largest letting of the year so far.
The deal shines a light on Brindleyplace and the value of flexible office solutions, as well as the bank’s ambitious eco plans for its offices at 125 Colmore Row.
The Birmingham office market in Q3 secured half the number of transactions of the previous quarter, although still achieved 131,504 sq ft – thanks to 2023’s largest letting to date. New, high quality office space has dominated 10,000+ sq ft lettings in recent years, but dwindling availability of large new space is demonstrated by the year’s figures.
Q3 2023 stats
1 3 1 , 5 0 4
total take-up (sq ft)
5 9 , 8 9 6
largest transaction (sq ft)
Birmingham office market 2023 at a glance
- Key transactions – top 6 transactions were all over 7,000 sq ft
- Lloyds Bank at Brindleyplace, for a while – UK’s largest flexible office deal outside London
- Striving for sustainability – Lloyds Bank’s ambitious 2-year refurbishment project
- Alpha secures a quintet – building secures 5 deals totalling 24,612 sq ft
- EFG brings it to 14 at 103 – second largest letting of Q3 leaves 103 nearly full
- New space withdrawing quickly – popularity of new office space erodes stock
- Rum Runner returns – famous, historic Birmingham building welcomes Ricoh
- Outlook – demand, major lettings and new stock
Key Birmingham office market transactions
|Office building||Size (sq ft)||Occupier||Business sector|
|6 Brindleyplace||59,896||Lloyds Bank||Financial|
|103 Colmore Row||12,162||EFG Harris Allday||Financial|
|Quayside Tower||9,126||EDA (Elizabeth Doggart Associates)||Psychotherapists / healthcare|
|15 Colmore Row||7,227||Fisher German||Property consultants|
|Alpha||7,126||Hitachi Energy UK||Utilities|
|Alpha||7,100||SYSTRA||Civil engineering / rail infrastructure|
|Total||102,637||78% of take-up||6 transactions|
Lloyds Bank at Brindleyplace, for a while
The largest letting of both the quarter and the year so far was to Lloyds Bank, taking 59,896 sq ft at 6 Brindleyplace. The bank has taken x+why’s serviced office space within the building, which has been named Foundry. Signed on a two–year agreement, this deal will temporarily relocate 2,260 staff and facilitate the refurbishment of its existing offices at 125 Colmore Row. The letting represents the UK’s largest flexible office deal outside of London so far this year.
Rupert Dean, CEO and Co-founder of x+why, said: “We are thrilled to expand our footprint within Foundry in Birmingham and provide this 60,000 sq ft managed deal for Lloyds Banking Group. It’s a great story about how we can work within existing buildings to support larger requirements with a bespoke, low carbon, flexible space.”
KWB has previously highlighted Brindleyplace as a location with the potential to offer major occupiers some of the best office space – at the right size – in Birmingham city centre. Brindleyplace’s proposition has changed significantly over recent years, with the development of the Metro system along Broad Street and the redevelopment of Arena Central and Chamberlain Square, all of which have made this area of the city very attractive to occupiers.
Lloyds Bank striving for sustainability
Meanwhile, the refurbishment of 125 Colmore Row will see the building transform into a sustainable hub. The 150,000 sq ft building was acquired in May last year by the West Midlands Pension Fund for £80 million. Now, it will be enhanced with a range of sustainability-focused investments driven by Lloyds’ 2030 sustainability targets.
Sharon Doherty, Chief People & Places Officer at Lloyds Banking Group, said: “Birmingham is one of our key strategic hub sites where teams including our data, technology, customer and client-facing teams are based. This is why we’re making a significant investment in our Colmore Row office to create a state-of-the-art, sustainable hub where 2,260 of our colleagues can work collaboratively together in a refurbished office space.”
Replacement of existing gas boilers with a heat pump system and installation of smart water monitoring systems are just a couple of examples of how Lloyds will shift energy reliance to sustainable sources and reduce its carbon footprint and water consumption.
The refurbishment will see the installation of a café with workstations, as well as new electric vehicle charging points and further bike racks.
Alpha secures a quintet
Alpha, on the corner of Broad Street and Suffolk Street Queensway, secured five deals in Q3, totalling 24,612 sq ft. The impressive array of sectors for these occupiers demonstrates the broad appeal this iconic 28-storey office building is currently enjoying.
The building was comprehensively refurbished in recent years, at a cost of £16.6 million, to offer high quality office space, which is now 85% let. The refurbishment also included the creation of Alpha Works, a flexible co-working space located on the 21st and 22nd floors. Alpha Works provides the building with a supply of potential occupiers that could later take space on a traditional basis once they have grown to sufficient size.
|Size (sq ft)||Occupier||Business Sector|
|7,126||Hitachi Energy UK||Utilities|
|7,100||SYSTRA||Civil engineering / rail infrastructure|
|3,550||Court Collaboration||Residential developer / housebuilder|
|3,474||Telserve / plan.com||Telecoms|
|24,612||19% of take-up|
The second largest deal in the building this quarter represented additional space for existing occupier, SYSTRA – in effect doubling its occupation within Alpha. This is also an example of landlords taking an innovative approach to retaining occupiers by delivering a bespoke design and fit out and enabling them to grow within the building.
Richard Brookes, investment manager at CEG, said: “Most companies don’t employ experts at design and fitting out workspace. They have a business to run and staff to manage, so a landlord willing to deliver this, especially one that will amortise the costs within the lease, can help clinch the deal.
“SYSTRA were already located on one floor, but as they swiftly grew, they wanted bespoke, contemporary workspace befitting the expanded team. We agreed a deal over two floors, with a full design and refit package, providing 160-strong workspace, meeting and boardroom and kitchenette facilities – all designed to retain and attract the best talent.”
The area surrounding Alpha has seen high levels of investment, specifically the £1.2 billion redevelopment of Paradise, which has generated many major lettings at Chamberlain Square. This kind of redevelopment and subsequent market activity has a halo effect, increasing the appeal of other buildings that are in close proximity.
EFG brings it to 14 at 103
We would expect 103 Colmore Row, an incredible success story in recent quarters, to become fully income–producing in the coming months. Built on the former site of the NatWest Tower, the proposition of this building has consistently drawn strong interest since it came to market in 2021, securing five transactions totalling 95,992 sq ft in its first year, and six in its second totalling 69,921 sq ft.
In Q3, financial services provider, EFG Harris Allday took 12,162 sq ft at the building – representing 103’s 14th letting since it came to market and bringing the total amount of let space to 194,088 sq ft.
|Year||Space let (sq ft)||Number of lettings|
|2023 to date||28,175||3|
|Total||194,088 sq ft||14|
Across these 14 lettings is a diverse range of occupiers and this has led to the building becoming, in effect, a ‘vertical business park’. In this time, 103 has also been able to command £45 per sq ft – an impressive rental level for Birmingham city centre and testament to the building‘s proposition and popularity.
103 has tapped into the ESG demands of Birmingham’s office occupiers, positioning the building as a means of enhancing the credibility of a business in the eyes of the local talent pool and clients. ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) has become a key driver for occupiers looking to relocate. At the same time, flexible, hybrid working has become commonplace, and this has enabled occupiers to consider a smaller, higher quality office stake. 103’s c.12,000 sq ft floorplates have been ideal for such occupiers and offered a stand-out proposition in the market.
New space withdrawing quickly
Whilst the office market was quieter this quarter than Q2, deals can often be slow to complete over the summer and this can lead to a bumper Q4 with many deals completing in October.
However, given the popularity of new space over recent quarters, the availability of new build office stock that is ready to occupy has diminished. This may subsequently restrict occupiers in their options for their next office. The major focus of office construction over recent years has been the redevelopment of Paradise. Following several years of strong letting and pre-let activity, the availability now stands as follows:
|Office building||Space available (sq ft)||Space let (sq ft)||Status|
|Three Chamberlain Square||185,000||0||Due April 2025|
|One Centenary Way||86,349||200,067||Available|
|Two Chamberlain Square||31,117||151,534||Available|
|One Chamberlain Square||0||174,611||Fully let|
With 526,212 sq ft let across the development in recent years, Paradise has 117,466 sq ft of readily available space remaining, with 185,000 sq ft coming on stream in Q2 2025.
Rum Runner Returns
Q3 saw the first letting at the newly launched Rum Runner Works off Broad Street, to Ricoh Digital Services, taking 3,561 sq ft at the property. This follows its reopening as an office building comprising 16,000 sq ft of office space after a £2 million renovation by landlord, Picton.
Theo Holmes, who heads the office agency team at CBRE, said: “Picton has invested £2 million to reimagine Rum Runner Works, producing a truly special workspace environment to match its colourful history.”
The building has been used for various purposes throughout its history, which dates back to the 1800s. Originally a Victorian glassworks, the building is well-known within the city for its time as a nightclub that helped launch the careers of major local bands such as Duran Duran, Dexy’s Midnight Runners and UB40.
Outlook for Birmingham office market
We expect to see several deals, where completion may have slowed over the summer period, to now appear in the Q4 figures.
There are also major upcoming lettings to the public sector, including the commitment to a third Birmingham hub, which is expected to become a specialist transport office, housing up to 4,000 staff from both the Department for Transport and National Highways – alongside other departments. The Government Property Agency (GPA) hopes to open the site between 2027 and 2028 but is still searching for a suitable city-centre location. This may complete in Q4 or early in the new year.
Birmingham already has two government hubs – 23 Stephenson Street and the HM Revenue & Customs office at Arena Central, with a total of 1,902 civil service roles that have been moved to the West Midlands since 2018.
There’s certainly demand from the private sector in the Birmingham office market, too. During Birmingham’s recent Tech Week, 16th-20th October, it was announced that more than 1,000 jobs were being created in the West Midlands between a number of major tech businesses, with the majority set to be Birmingham-based.
Birmingham has enjoyed a steady flow of new office buildings for the past five years, but with availability of new space now dwindling, eyes turn to what’s next:
- Three Chamberlain Square – the final office building at Paradise will offer nearly 200,000 sq ft in early 2025
- Drum – the conversion of the former John Lewis store within Grand Central will deliver 200,000 sq ft of high quality office space and is expected to complete mid-2026
- Beorma Quarter – the mixed-use development bordering the city’s core and Digbeth, opposite the Bullring and St Martin’s, is underway and will deliver 160,000 sq ft of offices across the first 12 floors of the 30-storey tower.
These may seem a way off, but outside the core there are interesting, more timely projects too. For example, Bruntwood will soon be launching its latest Birmingham office building, in Aston – Enterprise Wharf.
“Designed with digital and tech businesses in mind”, this building situated in the Knowledge Quarter comprises 10 floors, each offering 12,000 sq ft of contemporary, flexible office space.
See full details of the transactions featured in our Birmingham office market research, comprising office space in Birmingham city centre and Edgbaston.
For more information on the Birmingham office market, please contact Malcolm Jones on 0121 233 2330 or email email@example.com.
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