Spitfire Urbane and Legal & General have announced that work is now officially underway at the £53m Build to Rent (BTR) project in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter
To celebrate the start on site, a ground-breaking ceremony took place on 7 December. The event was attended by key parties involved in the project, including senior members of Legal & General, Spitfire Bespoke Homes and Winvic, as well as Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, and Birmingham City Councillors.
Newhall Square, which is being developed by Spitfire Urbane and forward-funded by Legal & General, is located centrally between the established Central Business District and the retail/leisure hub of the Jewellery Quarter. The project will see the delivery of 220 residential units, some canal facing, and 7,500 sq ft of ground floor commercial space, together with a public square.
The project is the first step into the Build to Rent sector for Spitfire – recently named Housebuilder of the Year at the Insider Midlands Residential Property Awards 2017 – with the event also marking the launch of Spitfire Urbane. This new brand from Spitfire Bespoke Homes will build upon the housebuilder’s success by focusing on high quality sophisticated city centre living, delivered through a combination of Build to Rent schemes and open market developments.
There is currently more capital committed to infrastructure projects in Birmingham than any other European city; the site sits within five minutes’ walk of the new Paradise development, a mixed-use development that will deliver 1.8m sq ft of new office, retail and leisure space, generating 12,000 new jobs.
Commenting on the start of work at Newhall Square, Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands said: “I am delighted to have been invited to celebrate the start of a project which will help to make such a positive change to Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. Not only will it create much-needed new homes in the city centre, but it will also revitalise a number of listed buildings, helping to ensure Birmingham’s rich history continues to play an integral role in its bright future. It is also wonderful to see local businesses, such as Spitfire and IM Properties, continuing to invest in the region, recognising the fantastic opportunities here.”
David Jervis, Managing Director of Spitfire said: “We were delighted to be joined by Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, to officially mark the start of work on site at Newhall Square, which is a key milestone in an important project for Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.
“The event also recognised an exciting new step for Spitfire, celebrating the launch of our new sub-brand, Spitfire Urbane. Spitfire Bespoke Homes has become known for creating high quality homes in some of the country’s premier locations, and Spitfire Urbane will share these principles. With over 50% of young professionals and millennials in Birmingham now residing within 1km of the city centre, Build to Rent schemes such as this one are an excellent way of meeting the increasing demand for affordable, quality rental accommodation in metropolitan areas. Newhall Square is Spitfire Urbane’s first project, and we are considering future opportunities to increase the accommodation offering within the city.”
Dan Batterton, BTR Fund Manager at LGIM Real Assets, commented: “We acquired this site just over a month ago and have now already started construction. This speed of delivery is vital to help to address the supply demand imbalance in the city. With a current population of 1.1m, the population growth of Birmingham is the third fastest in the UK, however available housing stock is at a record low and is exacerbated by weak levels of new house building in recent years.
“Spitfire has an outstanding record for creating unique homes and share our values of wanting to provide high-quality, affordable and professionally-managed rental accommodation.”
Mark Jones, Director for Multi-room at Winvic, added: “Our team and I have been working with Spitfire over the last year, using our experience to develop the design for this high quality, urban living scheme. We are delighted to commence work on site and we and look forward to delivering this project in 2019.”