Business News

Building sale secures the Chamber’s future

By John Lamb

Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) has sold their Edgbaston headquarters to Mercia Real Estate (MRE), a privately- owned real estate and asset management business, for £4.75m. Leaders of the oldest and largest business

support organisation in the region said the sale would enhance its long-term financial future. The purchase will mean that the GBCC’s base

will remain at Chamber of Commerce House on the corner of Harborne Road and Highfield Road. The GBCC, established in 1813, moved to the

site in 1960 from the New Street headquarters it had occupied since 1916. The offices were formally opened by the then paymaster general Lord Hills and a new reception area was opened by Prime Minister John Major in 1996.

‘This move secures the long- term future of the Chamber and means that it will continue to occupy its existing offices’

David Waller, who chairs the Chamber’s 14-

strong board, said: “This move secures the long- term future of the Chamber and means that it will continue to occupy its existing offices. The pension fund trustees have agreed to the sale and the deal de-risks the Chamber at a crucial time and sets up the organisation for the future. “It means we can maintain and strengthen

the widespread support we have been able to provide for businesses of all types and sizes in Greater Birmingham and beyond for many years, now under the leadership of chief executive Paul Faulkner. “The Chamber has changed massively since

it moved into the building in 1960 but has never wavered from its determination to support businesses of all shapes and sizes no matter what the political colours have been nationally or regionally.

No. I’ve been back in my office in Colmore

Row for some time now and have really enjoyed it and I know that many colleagues have too. Our offices are here to stay and we can expect to see further real estate investment in Birmingham and other city centres as we slowly emerge from this crisis. One prime example of this investment is the

news of the sale of our Edgbaston HQ to Mercia Real Estate, one of our Chamber patrons. Mercia plan to redevelop the building into an ultra-modern office environment for the future. The sale means that the Chamber will remain at our existing HQ occupying two new additional floors to be added to the existing building, securing the long-term future of the Chamber as a dynamic and innovative organisation. Who knows what the future may hold in our

post-Covid world but one thing’s for sure, the Chamber will be there as before and as it has been for over 200 years supporting and engaging with our members and helping us all find that pathway that we can walk down together.

October 2020 CHAMBERLINK 13 A computer-

generated image of how the site in Edgbaston is expected to look

“We are delighted to have come to an

agreement with MRE. They are already patrons of the Chamber and they have exciting plans for the building as it continues to be at the epicentre of business in the region.” Mr Faulkner said: “The deal we have struck

with MRE means the Chamber’s future is very bright indeed and it is an exciting development for our staff and members. Our Chamber has already changed and modernised a great deal in recent years, and this transaction will enable us to continue to evolve as a dynamic and innovative organisation that is continually striving to deliver the best possible business support and help our members and the business community as a whole. “I am delighted that we have come to this

agreement with MRE, despite the challenges posed by coronavirus in recent months, and it certainly proves that it is possible to keep business moving in the face of such constraints. “MRE have drawn up some inspiring plans

which include modernising the building as well as constructing new space on the top of the two wings which make up the headquarters.” Steve Allen, president of the GBCC, said:

“This is really exciting news for the Chamber and our members as it not only secures our long-term future but will also provide our brilliant Chamber team with a new ultra- modern office from which to work. “I’d like to congratulate our CEO Paul Faulkner

and our chairman David Waller for driving this deal and all the parties involved for bringing this impressive development to fruition.” MRE, who are patrons of the GBCC, are a

privately-owned real estate and asset management business with interests in the commercial and residential property sectors. Samuel Clark, chief executive of MRE, said:

“We are pleased to have completed this acquisition and worked closely with the Chamber to agree a 25-year leaseback which gives them the security to plan and continue to deliver much-needed support to the local business community.”

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