Second luxury retailer chooses Birmingham as site of its new store

A SECOND luxury furniture retailer is set to move into Birmingham after revealing plans to open a store in Edgbaston.

Neptune is following in the footsteps of rival OKA, which announced plans last month to establish a store in Harborne Road at the rear of the Morrison’s supermarket.

In a unique situation within the UK, Neptune is actually planning to open in the adjoining building to OKA at 16-18 Harborne Road.

Brooke Smith Planning (BSP), on behalf of Calthorpe Estates, is bidding to secure the change of use of the building from offices to retail so that the scheme can go through as soon as possible.

Preliminary discussions with Birmingham city planners have already taken place with a view to ensuring the change of use is viable.

Guidelines laid down in the Edgbaston Framework are encouraging an active mix of uses within the area, although commercial offices will remain the predominant sector.

“The momentum of this planning application reflects an increasing interest from bespoke high quality retailers wishing to locate within Edgbaston Village. This in turn increases its profile within Birmingham as a destination, whilst continuing to respect its heritage value,” states the BSP report.

The decision by OKA to open a new showroom in the village is thought to have crystallised the interest of further high quality bespoke furniture specialists.

Neptune, which had previously expressed an interest in opening a store at 38 Harborne Road two years’ ago until the local authority opposed the move, is thought to have renewed its interest when the conversion of 16-18 Harborne Road was made viable.

Luxury furniture retailer Neptune has 18 outlets across England. Its arrival in Edgbaston would, claims the report, “complete a high-quality lifestyle retail active frontage and parade, with other lifestyle operators across the road in the Morrison’s Neighbourhood Centre”.

Neptune is thought to see the close proximity of other operators as key to attracting football along the Harborne Road parade.

The statement claims such bespoke retailers have not previously been interested in locating within Birmingham as they did not consider there to be a potential location which would align with their customers and values.

“It is therefore significant that such retailers are now considering having a presence within Birmingham, due to the opportunity that is presented to them through the potential to locate within Edgbaston Village,” it adds.

“The fact that interest has been shown in the site by a high quality retailer such as Neptune is something that should be welcomed and acknowledged. Neptune has specifically identified Edgbaston Village as their next location in which to realise the potential of their brand, and this only seeks to emphasise the effectiveness of the success of the joint collaborative working between Calthorpe Estates and Birmingham City Council in seeking to realise and expand on the potential of Edgbaston Village.”   

It is unique within the UK for Neptune and OKA to be in a position to open next to one another.

The application site consists of two semi-detached properties that have been operating as offices. However, having carefully considered the long-term use of the properties, Calthorpe Estate has concluded it is unsustainable for the building to continue as offices. The properties were coming to the end of their economic life and the tenancy which had been in place since 2009 was incapable of sustaining a market lease renewal at the end of its lease in October 2015.