Former Rackhams building gets go ahead from Planning Chiefs

Plans to transform the former Rackhams buildings in Birmingham city centre have been approved by Birmingham City Council Planners.

Owners Legal & General appointed the original architects tp bennett to design a contemporary refurbishment of the Rackhams buildings – currently occupied by House of Fraser.

The building will offer space for retailers, bars, restaurants and other leisure uses on the ground and lower ground floors, while nine floors above will be converted for office use.

A boutique hotel will be created on the corner of Temple Row and Cherry Street.

The building will be crowned by the city’s largest rooftop terrace complete with a bar and restaurant offering views over St. Philip’s Square.

Simon Wilkes, head of business space development at LGIM Real Assets, said: “Approval of this innovative ‘reimagination’ of such a prominent and renowned building is to be greatly welcomed by the city. The plans are very sensitive to its location overlooking St. Philip’s Cathedral and square, whilst meeting the growing demand for high quality office space and creating a new cluster of modern food, drink, retail and leisure facilities in the city’s core.

“We are absolutely thrilled about the outcome and hope to be able to start preparatory work as soon as possible. This is also an important asset management initiative for the fund, where we are taking retail assets and re-purposing them for more resilient uses.”

Chris Wieszczycki, principal director at tp bennett, said: “Using our historical knowledge of this site, our design seeks to take advantage of its central location whilst responding to changing patterns in contemporary retailing and strong demand for office accommodation. We are very pleased that the committee understood our commitment to a scheme of the highest quality that will revitalise this heritage site in the centre of Birmingham.”

Charlotte Palmer, Senior Planner at Turley said:  “We are delighted to have secured approval to transform ‘Rackhams’ and look forward to an exciting repurposed future for the building.

“Our successful negotiation with Birmingham City Council has enabled a vibrant, mixed-use scheme that has scope within the planning permission to adapt and respond to occupier requirements in a core location within Birmingham’s City Centre.

“The application was supported by our economics team, who assessed the economic benefits of the scheme and our heritage team who advised on potential impacts on the historic environment.”