Office and hotel plans for Birmingham’s House of Fraser building revealed

Legal & General has drawn up plans to turn House of Fraser’s giant store in Birmingham into offices and a hotel.

Plans for the former Rackhams buildings, currently on a short term let to Sports Direct as owner of House of Fraser, include nine floors of Grade A offices and a new ‘boutique’ hotel on the corner of Cherry Street and Temple Row.

The refurbished buildings will deliver over 365,000 sq ft of office space, nearly 60,000 sq ft of retail and leisure facilities, a hotel of over 75,000 sq ft and more than 33,000 sq ft of restaurants, cafes and bars, together with communal space, a large atrium and external terraces.

The building has been under the ownership of Legal & General since 2014, which snapped it up for £71.4m.

Legal & General said it had been in discussions about a reformatted store with the former owners of House of Fraser since its acquisition and, after House of Fraser entered a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) in the summer, reached agreement with Sports Direct to allow the business to continue operating from the premises on a short term basis.

It said the proposals, which are due to be lodged with Birmingham City Council later this month, respond to “changing patterns in retailing and strong demand for Grade A office floorspace”.

Simon Wilkes of LGIM Real Assets said: “In addition to providing a most welcome increase in the availability of Grade A office space to help meet growing demand in the city, these proposals will create a new cluster of attractive food, drink, retail and leisure facilities right in the city’s core.

“Rackham’s is one of the best situated buildings in Birmingham and we are very confident that its transformation with updated design and facilities, innovative range of uses and quality of materials will quickly attract new occupants, eager to benefit from the great potential of this wonderful space.

“This unique mix of uses and positive enhancement of what is one of the city’s most familiar properties will bring added vibrancy to the centre of Birmingham, bringing additional jobs and attracting more visitors.”

Rackham’s was acquired by Harrods in 1955 which purchased the large island site to enable the construction of the new store to begin in 1957.

Harrods was itself taken over by House of Fraser In 1957. The new store then opened in several stages between 1960 and 1966 before being redeveloped during a refurbishment programme in the early 1980s.