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Edmund Street development secures top BCO recognition.

EVENACRE and Bridges Ventures have won a property 'Oscar' for their office development at 158 and 170 Edmund Street in Birmingham.

The joint venture partners' scheme was named 'Best Refurbished/ Recycled Workplace' in the British Council for Offices' (BCO) Midlands and East Anglia region annual awards, which are designed to recognise top-quality design, innovation and functionality in workplaces.

As the regional category winner, 158/170 Edmund Street will join contenders from four other regions to compete for the national prize, to be announced on October 6 in London.

Evenacre, a Birmingham-based property investor and developer, and Bridges, a specialist sustainable and impact investor, acquired two neighbouring office buildings - the 19,963 sq. ft. property at 158 Edmund Street, and the 8,595 sq. ft. property at 170 Edmund Street - for PS4 million in 2012: The partners subsequently invested a further PS1 million to re-develop the Grade II-listed buildings, which included the introduction of a number of environmental features.

Photovoltaic panels were installed on the roof to generate electricity for the common areas, while other energy-saving technologies like LED and 'intelligent' lighting systems were also employed. All told, these have reduced the annual service charge to sub PS4 per sq. ft., compared with an average of PS5.50 for similar space.

A high-spec interior fit-out has also proved to be a winner with occupiers, providing a 'wow' factor when visitors walk into reception.

The BCO judges said: "By creating a strong and focused brand with exceptional build quality, this unique workplace has rewarded the developers with commercial success. Aesthetically pleasing, sustainable and with sound economic credentials, this building delivers a strong overall package."

Five tenants moved into 158 within months of the property being marketed, including solicitors DBS Law, accountants Smith Cooper, BDP Architecture, and recruitment consultancies Hudson Global and Teacher Active. Law firm The Wilkes Partnership and financial advisors FRP Advisory and LEBC occupy 170. Rents of PS25 per sq ft and leases of ten years were achieved.

This strong level of demand from tenants was a clear reflection of the success of the environmentally-led redevelopment - as was the subsequent sale of the properties to F&C's UK Property Fund for PS11.65million last October.

Paul Jones, managing director of Evenacre, said: "158 had an incumbent tenant for 25 years, so the building had not had much attention in a generation. It was a fantastic opportunity to introduce new green technologies, as well as giving a period property a style make-over. The lettings programme, and subsequent sale of the properties, is testament that this strategy has paid off."

The professional team on 158 and 170 Edmund Street included: CDC (architect); Marchment Projects (project management, quantity surveying); DP Designs (contractor); CBRE (M&E and lettings); Fresh Living Interiors (interior design).

Evenacre's latest development is122 Colmore Row, where it has invested PS500,000 refurbishing the Grade I listed 6,180 sq ft premises. Office suites of 375 sq ft - 1,528 sq ft and a ground floor retail/leisure unit of 1,671 sq ft are available via CBRE.

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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 14, 2015
Words:507
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