Willmott Dixon to deliver grade A office scheme in Birmingham

willmott-dixon-to-deliver-grade-a-office-scheme-in-birminghamThe significant refurbishment of one of Birmingham’s most well-known buildings has taken a step forward with the appointment of Willmott Dixon as contractor.

Legal & General Property (LGP) which owns the Lewis Building on Bull Street has appointed the construction and regeneration specialist to carry out the comprehensive refurbishment.

When completed, the Lewis Building will offer 114,000 sq ft of contemporary Grade A office space set behind a classic Portland Stone façade.

The £18 million contract will see Willmott Dixon strip back the interior of the building to shell and core, remodeling the building to provide floorplates of 17,000 sq ft – some of the largest in the city’s business district – along with a new 12,000 sq ft, fully glazed seventh story with roof terraces.

All floors will receive high quality finishes throughout and the building will benefit from new mechanical and electrical systems.

The company is also building the National College for High Speed Rail in Duddeston to train HS2 engineers and transforming the Millennium Quarter with another project for Birmingham City University, this time expanding the Curzon building.

Tom Williams, Senior Asset Manager, Legal & General Property, said: “The Lewis Building represents a fantastic opportunity for Birmingham’s commercial market and we have already seen considerable interest from some of the larger requirements currently looking to identify space.”

Formerly known as Temple Court, the Lewis Building was originally built as a department store in the 1920s by renowned 19th Century philanthropist, David Lewis and has been an integral part of Birmingham’s city core for almost 100 years.

Willmott Dixon’s managing director in the Midlands, Peter Owen: “We are hugely proud of our role in creating Birmingham’s exciting new future with these projects, and are excited to be creating superb Grade A offices in the heart of the city’s business district.“

Kier launches new housing venture in the North

Kier LivingKier Living has launched a new venture designed to build a thousand of homes per annum within 3 years by creating long-term housing delivery partnerships in the north of England.

The first partnership to be confirmed is between Kier and leading northern HA Together Housing Group (THG); a JV relationship which will develop mixed tenure housing projects across Yorkshire, Humber and the North West, with the first new development site, for 113 properties for outright sale in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.

The Northern Ventures model offers a full mixed tenure development partnership, enabling registered providers with development aspirations and revenue needs to share activity, transfer risk and tap into Kier’s mixed tenure development expertise, national presence and sales infrastructure.

Unlike other partnerships, this JV is for multiple sites rather than a single-site partnership, meaning the JV can work together more collaboratively, harnessing regional expertise, investment momentum and innovation and developing a range of potential sites.

Kier Living has put in place a specialist Northern Ventures senior team, as it is expected that this approach will appeal to a wide range of land owners, from private land owners where a high output of affordable housing is required to achieve planning, through to public sector land owners who want to meet mixed tenure housing targets.

Paul Moore, managing director of Kier Living North said: “We are looking at a joint venture model that provides a longer-term sustainable relationship with a 3 -5 year business plan, giving both partners diverse and sustainable benefits.

“By working together, we can look at larger scale opportunities that are not only attractive financially for both parties, but contribute extra mixed tenure new homes to meet the current UK shortage.

With Government focus on home ownership, the joint venture gives our partners opportunities to build housing stock of all tenures, as well as generating a commercial return on their investment that can be re-invested in the sector.”

Mark Dunford, finance director of Together Housing Group added: “THG is excited to enter into this partnership with Kier Living to ensure we continue to meet the aspirations of both the Government and our own growth strategy.

With focus now on home ownership, we needed to work closely with an experienced developer not only to share the risk and reward but also to learn from their experience and knowledge.

“The intention is to build 500 new properties per year and establish site specific limited liability partnership for each scheme. Any profit returned to the Group will be used to fund our affordable housing programme.”

ISG gets £13m Corn Exchange project

ISGISG has been awarded a £13 million contract by Queensberry Real Estate to transform Manchester’s historic Grade II listed Corn Exchange into a four star boutique hotel.

The project involves the refurbishment of levels 2-5 of the iconic building, creating a 114-bedroom ‘aparthotel’ for operator Roomzzz.

The scheme is the second phase of a wider £30 million investment to develop the building as a major leisure destination, and follows the refurbishment of ground and first floor levels as restaurant and bar accommodation, all of which will remain operational throughout the project’s duration.

Commencing in mid-August, the scheme sees ISG carrying out remedial works to the roof structure, as well as the installation of a cantilevered scaffold system at first floor level.

ISG will then make significant structural alterations to the building’s floor slabs to introduce new service risers to accommodate the hotel’s modern mechanical and electrical infrastructure.

Andy McLinden, ISG’s Northern managing director, said: “The former Corn Exchange in Manchester is a very special and much-loved building and its latest evolution builds on the growing trend for hybrid guest accommodation in the city.

It’s a great challenge and an environment where we positively thrive as a business and there is a great deal of anticipation to get underway with the transformation of this iconic Manchester landmark.”

Go-ahead for Sheerwater Regeneration Scheme

Go-ahead for Sheerwater Regeneration SchemePlans to redevelop the Sheerwater Estate scheme near Woking with 922 homes and community facilities have been given the go-ahead by the local council.

The regeneration scheme is a joint venture between Balfour Beatty and Pinnacle housing association for Woking Borough Council, paving the way for new jobs in the construction trades.

Phase one of the four phase scheme is expected to get underway later next year and consists of nearly 100 new homes and a leisure centre.

Cllr David Bittleston, Woking Borough Councils Portfolio Holder for Strategic Housing Development, said: “The decision to grant planning consent is crucial to the regeneration of Sheerwater.

The scale and nature of the overall development, as well as detailed plans of the first phase of residential development and community leisure facilities, have been established and rigorously tested against local and national planning policy.

It is my belief that the regeneration of Sheerwater will make a significant improvement to the quality of life for existing and new residents of Sheerwater.

The new housing stock, roads, community and leisure facilities will all ensure the area is a sustainable and desirable place to live for years to come.”

Morgan Sindall starts work on £13.7m project in Leeds

Morgan Sindall starts work on £13.7m project in LeedsMorgan Sindall has started work on a 65,000 sq ft leisure extension to White Rose Shopping Centre in Leeds.

The £13.7 million design and build contract is being delivered by Morgan Sindall’s major contracts team, which has its regional office in the Hunslet area of the city. The contract also provides for a 15-month maintenance period.

The latest project includes plans for an 11-screen cinema, operated by Cineworld IMAX, six additional family friendly restaurants and a raft of attractive public realm features.

The leisure-focused scheme will provide White Rose Shopping Centre’s loyal customer base with the full-day experience.

Once complete it is estimated that the extension will deliver 350 new full-time and part-time jobs to the area.

Barry Roberts, area director at Morgan Sindall, said: “This is a fantastic project to be involved with and one which many people in West Yorkshire and beyond will benefit from. It will be a remarkable addition to the family leisure offering of the region and we understand our responsibility in making the vision of the developer a reality.”

Rob Jewell, Portfolio Director at Land Securities, said: “The decision to appoint Morgan Sindall to deliver this latest improvement to White Rose Centre was an obvious one given its exemplary previous work on the project.”

Land Securities is thrilled to provide the centre’s loyal catchment with prestigious and favoured leisure and dining brands, such as Cineworld IMAX, Wagamama and Chiquito.”

It is expected that the new extension will be operational in the summer of 2017.

Lovell chosen for 130-home Manchester scheme

Lovell chosen for 130-home Manchester schemeLovell has been appointed by Wythenshawe Community Housing Group (WCHG) for a £11.7m design-and-build contract to deliver 130 new affordable homes for local people in Wythenshawe, south Manchester.

The development – on a brownfield site at Greenbrow Road, west Wythenshawe – will create 52 houses for sale and shared ownership and 78 apartments for affordable rent through WCHG.

Construction work by Lovell – which has its North West regional office in Altrincham – recently got under way on land formerly occupied by five blocks of flats owned by WCHG. The new homes are set to be completed in January 2018. The scheme was awarded to Lovell following a competitive tendering process.

Nigel Wilson, Group chief executive of Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, says: “We are delighted to launch this exciting new project and create much-needed affordable housing for this area. This will be another landmark development for the Group following on from Village 135.”

Lovell regional director Nigel Yates says: “We’re delighted to be working once again with Wythenshawe Community Housing Group helping deliver its major new-build housing programme.

This development will bring a mix of smart modern new homes, available for rent, shared ownership and sale, to an area which has a real shortage of family homes as well as housing suitable for single people and first-time buyers. High levels of energy-efficiency will be built into the new homes helping residents save on fuel bills.”

The new homes will be built to the equivalent of Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes incorporating high-efficiency boilers, high-specification floor and cavity insulation.

CBI: Onshore wind important for the UK

CBI Onshore wind important for the UKThe crucial elements of stability and a long-term outlook are needed in order for the UK’s onshore wind sector to realise its full potential, according to the CBI.

Speaking at the Scottish Renewables Onshore Wind Conference, Rhian Kelly, Business Environment Director at Britain’s largest business group, highlighted the pivotal role of onshore wind in the UK’s wider energy mix.

On the role of onshore wind in the UK energy mix, Rhian Kelly, CBI Business Environment Director, said: “Having steadily grown in capacity, onshore wind now meets over 5% of the UK’s energy needs, saving almost 15 million tonnes of carbon each year.

It can support our objectives of decarbonisation, affordability and security of supply as part of a diverse and balanced energy mix across the UK.

We need to ensure that low-carbon investment is affordable for both households and businesses. And this is where onshore wind plays an absolutely pivotal role.

It is all too easy to forget that the UK is still one of the world’s leading wind energy markets, with the onshore industry adding over £900 million to the economy last year. This is something that we should be shouting about and looking to build upon.”

Lindsay Roberts, Senior Policy Manager for Scottish Renewables, said: “Renewables are now Scotland’s largest generator of electricity, with onshore wind making up the lion’s share of output.

There is plenty of scope for further growth – which would be good for the environment and for consumers – but only if government is prepared to create a level playing field and allow onshore wind to compete for long term contracts for power for clean electricity, along with other renewables and nuclear power.”