Make scheme in doubt as government bins Birmingham office hub

Site clearance has already been carried out on the scheme within the Make-masterplanned Arena Central opposite Mecanoo’s 10-year-old Birmingham Library.

In an annual Government Property Agency (GPA) report last week, the government said it was cancelling its ‘Birmingham 3’ project, citing a review into ‘strategic requirements’.

It had been due to take up a lease as tenants of the building, having already moved HM Revenue and Customs staff into the neighbouring 3 Arena Central office.

The AJ understands that, if the plans had gone ahead, thousands of civil servants would have been working from the building off Centenary Square as well in an unspecified site in Newcastle.

A deal between the government and Arena Central developer Keir was made in late 2021 on the 18,800m2 office, which Make won consent for in May 2021.

The 10-storey office building forms a part of a wider masterplan for Arena Central, which has since been delivered in phases. Keir purchased the major redevelopment project in 2019.

Outline consent for 5 Centenary Square was handed down in 2014 and a nine-storey scheme was submitted in 2019 for the plot, which was later revised to the current 10-storey design.

When contacted for comment, Make said groundwork had started on the scheme but vertical construction had not got underway. Keir was also contacted for comment.

Elsewhere, construction of a separate 9,000-person office for HM Revenue and Customs staff in Newcastle, to designs by Ryder Architecture, continues. Completion of the project, the Pilgrim’s Quarter, is expected in 2027.

The GPA said cancellation of plans for the office hubs would cost £843,000 for the Birmingham one and £463,000 for the one proposed for Newcastle.

A government spokesperson told the AJ: ‘We are committed to launching new government hubs in Birmingham and Newcastle.

‘Two [other] hubs are already open in Birmingham, and a new HMRC regional centre is under construction in Newcastle.’