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Planners approve 350-feet high Colmore Row glass skyscraper

Planners approve 350-feet high Colmore Row glass skyscraper

🕔06.Aug 2015

The biggest change to the landscape of Birmingham’s central business district in a generation has been approved after planners gave the go-ahead for a towering new office block in Colmore Row.

A 350-foot high glass fronted structure with Grade A office space for 2,000 workers and a signature roof top restaurant will replace the NatWest Tower at 103 Colmore Row and is expected to be completed by 2018.

Developer Sterling Property Ventures and financial backer Rockspring say the new building will also feature a “winter garden providing significant new public space, lit as an oasis at night”.

Although the site is in a conservation area and the new tower will soar above sensitive historic buildings like the Council House and St Phillip’s Cathedral, the city planning committee was enthusiastic about the scheme.

Councillor Peter Douglas Osborn (Con) said the new structure was a welcome addition to the skyline and would replace the “monstrosity” of the NatWest Tower.

Councillor Fiona Williams (Lab) thought views of Birmingham city centre would be enhanced by the building’s design.

Demolition of the NatWest Tower will take at least a year to complete and spells the end for yet another of Birmingham architect John Madin’s controversial ‘Brutalist’ concrete structures. Competed in 1974 and 22 storeys high, the tower will go the way of other Madin creations including the Birmingham Post and Mail Tower at Colmore Circus and the Central Library.

The approved scheme replaces a proposal by British Land for a far higher tower on the site which was given planning approval by the city council in 2008, but was never built.

At that time the then city regeneration director Clive Dutton described the NatWest Tower as one of the ugliest buildings in the city centre and insisted the proposed replacement would boost Birmingham as a global centre for the finance and professional services sector.

His successor, Waheed Nazir, director of planning, gave an equally upbeat message.

Mr Nazir said Rockspring had already identified £650 million to deliver the new tower and the offices would be one hundred per cent speculative lettings, underling demand for Grade A office space and growing market confidence in Birmingham’s professional services sector.

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