Stalled Jewellery Quarter apartment scheme set for resurrection after new funding

How the apartment scheme in Carver Street would look

An aborted apartment scheme in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter looks set to be resurrected after renewed support for the project from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP and the finance arm of Birmingham City Council, Finance Birmingham.

The site of the development, a derelict printing works behind the former George and Dragon pub – now renamed The Pig and Tail – in Carver Street, has previously attracted the interest of developers.

However, the project stalled after the previous developer went bankrupt.

Now, developer Complex Development Projects, is looking to resurrect the scheme and has submitted plans to Birmingham City Council.

The scheme proposes the development of 30 one and two-bed apartments on the site at 1-9 Carver Street and Pope Street.

The proposed development would be a single five-storey building with a central courtyard and would back on to the rear of the pub.

However, the scheme is not without issues.

Under the current planning policy, the developer will have to make a defined contribution to the local authority of more than £200,000.

A financial viability report submitted with the planning application states the total cost of the development is estimated at £6.85m, with a targeted profit for the developer of £1.3m.

However, the viability of the scheme could be in question because of an estimated profit shortfall of £515,407.

As such, the developer said it was not in a position to make the customary Section 106 contribution to Birmingham City Council to fund off-site improvements.

A supporting statement to the application says there are abnormal costs associated with the scheme and these threaten to undercut profit margins for the developer.

The document says there is an issue about the ability to re-use the pilings and structures started under the aborted scheme or whether it is better to replace them altogether and start afresh.

“Either way this presents considerable abnormal costs in the sub-structures element of this development,” states the document.

“It is for these reasons that the developer has had to approach the Local Enterprise Partnership (Greater Birmingham & Solihull) and Finance Birmingham under their Unlocking Sites Programme to request grant funding top make the scheme viable for delivery.

“An application for a grant of £515,407 is lodged with the LEP at present and the viability and supporting documents are being assessed by Jones Lang LaSalle on behalf of the LEP.”

Steve Compton, director, 3D Innovative Solutions (Rugby), said in his submission there was considerable planning gain for the area if the scheme was to progress.

He said: “As a key site in the Jewellery Quarter the delivery of this project will not only provide new housing in an area of high demand, but also underpin and support the heritage led regeneration for the Quarter.”

He said many schemes both approved and under construction, had sought to maximise profit by delivering large numbers of one-bed apartments within the minimum space standards laid down and this was causing an issue with an over-supply of such stock, with the subsequent shortage of larger two/three bed apartments with generous space standards in the Jewellery Quarter as a whole.

“This scheme has been designed to address that imbalance by providing a development of primarily larger two and three bed apartments including nine duplex units,” he added.