'Ugliest building in Birmingham' set for huge £4.5m transformation

Centre City Tower
-Credit: (Image: Graham Young / BirminghamLive)

A Birmingham office block once dubbed the 'ugliest building in the UK' is set for a huge £4.5 million transformation. Centre City in Hill Street recently received the unfortunate title from photography experts at ParrotPrint, who also described the building as a “crime against architecture”.

However, work has now commenced on a significant refurbishment project which could give the Brutalist Centre City a new lease of life. Bruntwood SciTech, which announced the project, said new amenities such as “cutting-edge workspace and advanced wellness facilities” are set to be provided.

The company continued that the building could receive a grand entrance with a striking ‘living wall’ as part of the transformation. With construction now under way, work on the ‘redeveloped’ Centre City is set to be completed in January 2025, with the new look workspace likely to take on a new name to reflect its transformation.

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Bruntwood SciTech says that for the first time, the 20-storey building will offer co-working and pay as you go options, complementing its existing leased offices and offering “flexible and scalable” options for companies at various stages of growth. It continues that the transformation will also provide new internal spaces, including a spacious lounge, while the basement will be converted to include a high-quality fitness and weights studio, contemplation room and bike storage area.

Mohammed Ali, senior asset manager for Bruntwood SciTech, said the “redevelopment” of Centre City represents a “pivotal moment” for Birmingham. “This £4.5 million transformation will introduce state-of-the-art workspaces and amenities, enhancing collaboration, wellbeing and social interaction within a prime city centre location,” he said.

“This project offers a unique opportunity for businesses to thrive in a dynamic environment, supported by convenient access to Birmingham’s extensive transport network and vibrant retail offerings". He added: “As we progress with construction, we look forward to welcoming a diverse range of leading organisations to this revitalised landmark, further cementing Birmingham’s reputation as a premier destination for business growth.”

Andy Riach, director for commercial property consultants Lambert Smith Hampton, said the transformation would reimagine the building as a “central hub for innovative companies in Birmingham”. “We have no doubt that demand will be high for this market-leading workspace, and we look forward to seeing the positive impact this project will have on the local business landscape.”

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Centre City is close to the Ringway Centre in Smallbrook Queensway, another Brutalist landmark in the heart of Birmingham. In February earlier this year, Birmingham City Council's planning committee voted to demolish the Ringway Centre and replace it with three huge apartment blocks.

However, a group of campaigners vowed last month to continue their fight to preserve the building after the High Court refused permission for a judicial review of redevelopment plans.

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