The redevelopment of One Swallow Street is on track to be Birmingham city centre’s first office-to-residential conversion to be completed following the introduction of permitted development rights.
The scheme from Berkshire-based Salmon Harvester Properties Ltd has brought a new lease of life to a prominent, centrally-located office building which was no longer fit for purpose.
Situated metres from the Navigation Street entrance to New Street Station and Grand Central, the 11-storey building now comprises 55 contemporary one-bedroom apartments which will be available to rent.
One Swallow Street was one of the first office-to-residential conversions to be progressed in the centre of Birmingham following the government’s changes to permitted development rights, which came into force in April 2013, and it will be the first to complete.
In its formative stages, Birmingham-based FleetMilne Property completed advice on the conversion as part of Salmon Harvester Properties Ltd.’s project team.
According to Nicola Fleet-Milne, director of FleetMilne Property, if the redevelopment process is well thought-through, schemes which reinvigorate vacant office buildings could play a key role in opening up the city living market.
“The availability of residential property in Birmingham city centre has long been at crisis point. Since 2009, when the recession set in, demand has far outweighed supply. No new stock has been delivered to the market despite an estimated 1,000 new households moving into the city every year.
“We know there is an appetite among fund managers to take advantage of the potential for growth in the residential markets of key regional centres; and we would urge them to turn their attention to Birmingham and focus on unlocking the profitability of the city’s outdated office stock. However, we would sound a note of caution as there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to maximising return on investment.
“FleetMilne Property provided professional advice on how to get best value from the office-to-residential conversion at One Swallow Street. This included redesigning the scheme which was already on the table – configuring it to meet the requirements of the target market and making the best use of each floorplate, with no wasted spaces. We advised on the right unit mix, and the layout and style of each individual apartment.
“The vision for One Swallow Street has now become a reality and it is exciting to have played a part in the delivery of the first office-to-residential scheme set to be completed in the city following the introduction of permitted development rights. However, we need far more developments of this kind in central Birmingham if we are to meet the growing demand for residential property.
“We welcomed the government’s announcement last year that permitted development rights would be made permanent and we are hopeful this will open up opportunities for more conversions. Approached in the right way, these developments are a win-win. They have the potential to be profitable investments which breathe new life into old buildings, while also delivering much-needed stock for Birmingham’s buy-to-let investors, prospective rental tenants and homebuyers.”
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