Abstract and Kames’ £22.5m Birmingham plans approved

Abstract Land and Kames Capital have been given planning consent for the 153,000 sq ft redevelopment of 55 Colmore Row in Birmingham,TheBusinessDesk.com reported today.

Development partner Abstract Land and fund manager Kames Capital submitted plans for the major refurbishment and remodelling of the building in the autumn. Approval of proposals was deferred, but with approval now granted the detailed design phase of the complex is due to start imminently.

Proposals for the £22.5m overhaul of the building, the current home of law firm Wragge & Co, include replacing the modern façade at the rear of the building in Barwick Street and with restaurant units. Development work will also result in an increased amount of available office space.

The design, by architects Aedas, retains the listed Colmore Row frontage, which will be cleaned and repaired. The building’s historic Banking Hall – which dates back to 1870 – will be retained as a main feature of the ground floor reception foyer, bringing it back into daily use.

James Howarth, director at Abstract Land, said: “In a market which has forecasters stating that demand for high quality accommodation in the city will outstrip supply by 2013 and with little development under way or proposed, gaining planning approval is an exciting marker in the redevelopment of this landmark city building.

“The scheme will increase the net lettable space in the building by 19% to deliver 153,000 sq ft of Grade A accommodation, while respecting the historical fabric of the building and its position overlooking the cathedral square.”

Wragge & Co, the city’s largest law firm, is committed to moving to Two Snowhill, which is currently under construction. It could relocate as early as 2013.

Consultancy GW Planning acted on behalf of the applicants; joint letting agents for the building are Knight Frank and Colliers International.