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Urban Design Compendium

Case Study 130 - Creating value through design

130 - Brindley Place, Birmingham

‘[At Brindley Place] we used a different architect for each of the three key buildings – Porphyrios, Stanton Williams and Sidell Gibson. This attracted three occupiers who fell in love with each building. One building was prelet and although the other two were built speculatively, the conversations we had had with leading law and accountancy firms gave us the confidence to go ahead’ Roger Madelin, Joint Chief Executive of Argent Group plc explains.

He believes that raising the level of design puts discussions on a positive footing. ‘This has started conversations for us; quite often leading to lettings…Good development gives us something to be proud of, even if there is a gap in the letting. People feel it will help their business – “Wow, this is the kind of building we want to be in”. Raising efficiency of the business by 1% pays the rent.’

In response to whether one should invest in design, Roger Madelin says, ‘Good design has a business benefit. On multi-phased projects we have sometimes chosen to spend more money on a building, perhaps for better materials – this can pay off, not necessarily in the initial rent but in the buildings contribution to the place. The value of the whole can be raised.’

Argent’s long-term approach meant that not all the design decisions at Brindley Place were taken to maximise early revenues. Providing amenities such as the gallery required early investment and forgoing some revenues but greatly improved the business location and quality of place. Good regeneration schemes like this not only generate value within the project but also raise values in the long term and in the wider area. ‘If you intend to be around for a while (as a business) good design is well worth investing in.’ Roger Madelin, Argent Group plc.

Other Information

  • Location: Birmingham
  • Project Team: Key partners: Argent Development Consortium Developer: Argent Group plc Masterplanner: Terry Farrell, John Chatwin Architect: Porphyrious Associates, Stanton Williams, SidellGibson
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UDC2 Section - Delivering Quality and Adding Value 

Upfront investment in quality public realm and amenities helped establish Brindley Place as a location of choice for new businesses.Images (image bank)