Almost three years after it was granted outline planning consent, Ballymore has announced it is pressing ahead with its third and final Snowhill development — helping to give Birmingham city centre more than two-million square feet of premium office space.
Announced at last week’s MIPIM global real estate conference in Cannes, the Irish developer said Three Snowhill — close to its predecessors in the professional and financial Colmore Business District — would be a 16-storey “statement building” offering 360,000 sq ft of Grade A office space and 40,000 sq ft of ground floor retail and leisure units.
Snowhill was always intended to be a three-phase mixed-use scheme. First mooted in the mid-noughties at the height of the commercial property boom, the concrete foundations for Three Snowhill have remained untouched for years, eventually being covered by an advertising hoarding.
In total the trio of Snowhill schemes will offer around 970,000 sq ft of premium space. One Snowhill was completed in 2009 and now has a number of high-profile tenants including KPMG, Barclays Bank and business advisers DWF. Two Snowhill (pictured) opened four years later and has attracted organisations including global law firm Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co and the new construction headquarters for HS2, the the company responsible for developing and promoting the UK’s new high speed rail network..
“This is the right time to move forward with Three Snowhill,” said Ballymore’s Snowhill project director, Richard Probert, who said his company decided to revive the scheme after final space in Two Snowhill was taken by HS2, creating 1,500 new jobs.
The announcement comes less than a month after the unveiling of the 20-year Snowhill Masterplan by Birmingham City Council and the Colmore Business District, laying down the framework for the generation of 10,000 new jobs and more than two-million square feet new office space across the commercial hub. The blueprint also claims it would boost the local economy by over £600m a year.
“Ballymore’s news shows that the bold thinking behind the Snowhill Masterplan is already helping to deliver new schemes for Birmingham’s expanding business community,” commented Sir Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham City Council.
“Investment in Birmingham is gaining momentum. Despite a number of major schemes completing this year — such as New Street Station and Grand Central — we have several others on the horizon, including Paradise and Arena Central, which will continue to transform our city.”
Several recent surveys have shown that more businesses are flocking to Greater Birmingham than ever before. The region secured 95 foreign direct investment projects during 2013 and 2014, the highest on record and more than any other English region. Birmingham also saw 18,000 new businesses set up shop within the city last year — more startups than any other UK location.
Waheed Nazir is the city authority’s director for planning and regeneration. “Three Snowhill will be an exciting new addition to the sites being built in Birmingham to cater for an increase in demand from businesses for quality office space,” he said. “With the city expected to experience a shortage of Grade A supply by the end of the year, it is welcome news that Three Snowhill is now moving forward.”