Thursday 20 July 2017

Downturn forces developer to postpone €625m UK tower

Donal Buckley

Developer Ballymore Properties is planning to postpone construction work on the residential aspect of its €625m Snow Hill project in Birmingham, which would be the highest-habitable tower in the city, because of deteriorating market conditions.

A spokesperson for the company confirmed that it is reviewing the timescale for the 44-storey landmark building, which will contain 332 luxury apartments. The spokesperson denied that it would be halted, however.


Ballymore, which is headed up by Sean Mulryan, is pressing ahead with the commercial sections of the project. US operator Starwood Hotels & Resorts has already announced its intention to open a 198-bedroom Westin Hotel and Spa in a 23-storey block.

The first two phases of the project are under construction and will provide 600,000 sq ft of prime commercial space. At One Snowhill, 120,000 sq ft of offices has already been taken up by KPMG, while Two Snowhill set new records for Birmingham with the city's largest-ever pre-let confirmed to Wragge & Co, solicitors.

Ballymore said the one million sq ft Snowhill project is designed to create a new city centre business district close to Colmore Plaza, which was completed earlier this year.

The Ballymore spokesman said the company was now focusing all of its resources on completing Two Snowhill, adding: "Two Snowhill is the priority at present as a result of the Wragge & Co pre-letting and our resources are focused there. Phase 3 is under review only in terms of phasing and timing and this is normal business practice."

Situated between Colmore Row and Snow Hill Queensway, the hotel and residential towers will have a slender glass and steel facade with a sleek, curved profile, and are interlinked by a landscaped piazza which will house a 10,200 sq ft heath club and spa, a 15,900 conference centre and a selection of retail outlets totalling 3,500 sq ft.

A key component of the scheme is new public space, including an art wall that is planned to run the length of the development.

Local experts said Birmingham appears to be escaping the worst of the downturn, adding that the midlands city continues to attract inward investment thanks in part to the local council's commitment to a number of public infrastructure projects.

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