Sky's the limit for developer looking to cash in on city; 42-storey tower will not be last of its kind.
THE property developer behind what will be one of Birmingham's tallest ever residential towers is unlikely to stop at just one project in the city.
James Blakey, planning director with Moda Living, said the firm had been eyeing Birmingham since the company formed four years ago and there was a real chance it would build a second or even third development in the city.
Moda Living, along with its funder Apache Capital Partners, is behind plans to build a PS183 million, 42-storey tower on a plot in Broad Street once occupied by famous Birmingham nightclub Tramps.
The company recently hosted an exhibition to gauge public opinion on the plans before it submits a full planning application to Birmingham Council City.
"This is our first foray into Birmingham and the city has been high on our list of places to be for the very obvious reason that it is such a major conurbation in the UK," Mr Blakey said.
"It hits the demographic for us from a business, corporate, post-graduate and professional perspective.
"We think that Birmingham would be able to take more than one private rented sector (PRS) site run by Moda, given the nature of the business community and the strength of the universities.
"We looked at the majority of Birmingham city centre streets in relation to potential sites but choosing a PRS site is an exact science so we spend a great deal of time choosing the right location.
"We were looking at Birmingham before HSBC decided to move here and the Broad Street site has been one we have wanted to acquire for quite some time.
"Moda's plan is very aggressive towards Birmingham in the sense of wanting to provide more units here.
"Birmingham will be able to take at least one more Moda site if not two more and we remain committed to and active in the city."
Although the final number is yet to be decided, the as-yet-unnamed development will have around 500 flats ranging from studios to three-bedroom units which will only be available to rent.
It will have a three-storey plinth, on which a 200-metre running trick will sit - a first for Moda Living - with a further 39 storeys above.
There will also be other communal facilities for residents including a gym, free wi-fi, public space, 24/7 concierge, business lounge and eating areas - all included in the rent.
Once completed, Moda Living will retain ownership of the tower and act as both landlord and building manager, something Mr Blakey said was important to creating a sense of community among residents.
He added: "Moda Living will not sell the building once it is completed. To generate a return, we need people to be happy and comfortably living in our buildings.
"That element of community is important to us as a company. This is not just about an individual building, it's about place making.
"When you think about the level of investment which has been promoted by the council in this part of the city for such a long time, there is a momentum about creating place.
"If you look at successful cities both in the UK and Europe, that's what it's about - creating public realm and that lifestyle choice.
"Because the city is continually on the move, with projects such as HS2 and major corporations coming in, quality housing is needed to support that activity. Within all of our schemes in the UK, the importance of place making is high on our agenda."
Despite the large number of flats, there is expected to be only around 60 parking spaces but enough cycle parking for every resident to store a bike.
The Midland Metro tram extension will run past the front door of the site along Broad Street and the area is well served by public transport.
Mr Blakey said: "The location works well as do the sustainability credentials as you can easily walk into the city centre in a few minutes and the tram will come past the site over the next few years.
"As a business, we don't require a huge number of parking spaces... we are very confident and comfortable this will work because of the location. Council officers and councillors have recognised that this is a site which has needed regenerating for quite some time."
Assuming permission is granted this year, work is due to start in 2018 and take up to three years to complete.
<B An artist's impression of the plans for the 42-storey tower
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|Publication:||The Birmingham Post (England)|
|Date:||Jun 22, 2017|
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