Investor-developer and contractor for world record Octagon tower announced

17 December 2021

Paradise Birmingham - Octagon Ground Floor View

Global real estate developer City Developments Limited (CDL) from Singapore has purchased and is developing the site of the record-breaking 49-storey Octagon residential tower – the world’s tallest pure octagonal residential skyscraper.

The estimated total development cost (including land cost) is around £110 million. Located in the heart of Birmingham, Octagon will be 155 metres (509 feet) in height and will be Birmingham’s tallest building when completed in 2025.

The team leading Paradise Birmingham, MEPC, will remain as the Development Manager of the building.

Hertfordshire-based Midgard, the main contractor, has been awarded a 44-month contract to demolish the existing 77 Paradise Circus Queensway office building and build the majestic Octagon. Site works began this week.

There will be a mix of accommodation in the building, with 370 one, two and three-bedroom apartments, including a number of affordable homes, together with communal space, concierge and resident amenities.

Octagon is designed by Birmingham-based Glenn Howells Architects and planning permission for the landmark building was awarded by Birmingham City Council in April this year.

The investment by developer CDL and the appointment of Midgard comes on the back of three new detailed planning applications that were recently submitted to Birmingham City Council to complete Phase Two of the Paradise Masterplan.

Midgard will be installing a 179-metre tower crane on site in the first half of 2022 – the tallest tower crane ever used in the city and the same height as the Gherkin in London, or twice the height of the Statue of Liberty.

Midgard brings expertise in the construction of tall buildings that include a range of towers in and around Canary Wharf in London and in Greater Manchester.

As part of the JRL Group, Midgard provides a full turnkey service and manages all associated contractors from the beginning of the construction process to completion. This experience will be essential towards delivering a building of the scale of Octagon.

Neil McGinty, UK development director at CDL, said: ‘We are delighted to collaborate with MEPC to develop the visionary Octagon residential tower, which will transform Birmingham’s skyline.

‘Since we made our foray into the UK BTR segment in 2019 with the acquisition of The Junction in Leeds, we have been looking for opportunities to grow our portfolio strategically through the development of iconic BTR residential landmarks.

‘Our investment in the Paradise project allows us the unique opportunity to actively participate in the rejuvenation of the Birmingham city region.’

Rob Groves, regional development director with Paradise development manager MEPC, said: ‘Attracting an investor of the reputation and quality of CDL is a major coup for Paradise and Birmingham. They are a major player globally and have shown great confidence in the city and the region.

‘The award of lead contractor to Midgard for the construction of Octagon is another pivotal moment in the life of this project. It demonstrates our commitment to excellence during the construction phase of the building and beyond.

‘Octagon is a game-changer for the city’s skyline and to now have spades in the ground brings us closer to realising our vision for a unique, world-class building right in the heart of Birmingham.

‘From day one, our ambition with Octagon has been simple – to build one of the finest apartment schemes ever seen in the UK. Everything about it – its height, the size of the apartments themselves and their design, the views and the location in the city centre – will be a first and we can’t wait to see the building making progress on Birmingham’s skyline.

‘With further landmark buildings to follow at Paradise, along with the new public realm that will knit Paradise and the wider city centre together, we continue to create a new piece of the city for the people of Birmingham.’

Kevin Keegan, group director at Midgard, said: ‘This is a significant project for Birmingham and the city centre and we look forward to making immediate progress during the coming months.

‘This is a world-class project, as is the whole of the Paradise scheme, with cutting edge design and architecture. By bringing our expertise of constructing tall buildings to bear at Paradise, we will ensure this landmark tower is built on time and on budget.’

Jonny Stevenson, Head of Build to Rent at Knight Frank, said: ‘Octagon is the tallest and most iconic Build to Rent development Birmingham has ever seen. It reaffirms the city’s status as a best-in-class location for investment and shows the depth of capital looking for opportunities outside of London. CDL’s confidence in Birmingham and the scheme itself reiterates the strength and depth of renter demand in the city, and Knight Frank is proud to have brokered this landmark deal.’

According to Knight Frank’s research, 70% of funds committed in the UK in the first half of 2021 were for schemes outside of London – reflecting investor confidence in the fundamentals which underpin those regional markets, as well as an increase in the number of high-quality development opportunities being brought forward outside of the capital.

Paradise Birmingham has already completed phase one of its development with One Chamberlain Square and Two Chamberlain Square providing some of the best views in Birmingham with stunning vistas across Chamberlain Square itself and of the city’s impressive Classical and Victorian civic architecture.

PwC, the leading professional services firm, moved its 2,000-strong team to One Chamberlain Square in January 2020 and has been joined at Paradise by DLA Piper, Knights, Mazars and Atkins at Two Chamberlain Square, while Arup has committed to taking three floors of One Centenary Way, currently under construction and due to complete in early 2023.

At almost 2 million square feet, Paradise is delivering up to ten new flagship buildings including Octagon, offering offices, shops, bars, cafés, restaurants and a high-quality hotel across 17 acres in the heart of the city.

The Paradise redevelopment is being brought forward through Paradise Circus Limited Partnership (PCLP), a private-public joint venture with Birmingham City Council. The private sector funding is being managed by the international business of Federated Hermes, which has partnered with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments) on the first phase of the development. MEPC is the development manager.

Paradise sits in the country’s largest city-centre Enterprise Zone and has already benefited from investment by the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP).

A website showcasing the vision for Paradise, in addition to a live time-lapse camera and all the latest news about the development, can be viewed at www.paradisebirmingham.co.uk