The coronavirus pandemic has failed to make a major dent in the rising tide of construction work in Birmingham city centre, according to an annual property barometer report.
The 2020 Crane Survey, published by financial services firm Deloitte, suggests the city held up well against the economic impact of the outbreak and subsequent lockdowns, with only a slight drop in activity.
The number of new developments across the city centre in 2020 was ten, a fall of just one from 2019, while the number of current schemes under construction dropped year on year from 41 to 34 last year.
The ten new starts recorded were split across residential (four), office (two) and one each in education, hotels, leisure and student accommodation.
This represented a more even spread compared with 2019 which was split seven to four between residential and office.
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Deloitte’s annual Crane Survey assesses the volume of development activity taking place across major UK city centres and is now in its 19th year for Birmingham.
Among the projects currently under construction in the city centre are office blocks 103 Colmore Row and One Centenary Way on the Paradise scheme and the 42-storey Mercian apartment block in Broad Street.
Last year was a record for Birmingham in the history of the survey, with purpose-built student accommodation delivering 1,458 new student bed spaces, over two-thirds of which belong to the towering 1,023-bed project at Lancaster Circus island.
However, the current pipeline for this sector is below the ten-year average for Birmingham at 741 beds.
Residential development continues to see an uptick in activity, according to the research, following the completion of 2,072 units which is well above the ten-year average of 607 and the highest total in the past decade.
But the report said this record was set to be broken in 2021 as delayed schemes came to fruition alongside those that are due to complete, with 20 under construction and four new schemes breaking ground in 2020.
Residential projects are on the wane slightly, dropping from 26 in 2019 to 20 last year and a 27 per cent drop in units being developed, from 5,318 to 3,886.
For the fifth consecutive year, office space surpassed one million sq ft under construction but just over 210,000 sq ft was completed in 2020 against a projection of more than 600,000 sq ft being finished.
This year should see the delivery of more than 750,000 sq ft completed.
Edwin Bray, partner at Deloitte Real Estate in Birmingham and author of the survey, said: “2020 has seen a shift in development across the city but it has remained resilient in a very challenging year.
“Both residential and purpose-built student accommodation have performed well and, although we have seen a significant drop in the amount of completed office space, there is still over one million sq ft under construction.
“Both domestic and foreign investors continue to see Birmingham as the UK city of choice as we look forward to hosting the Commonwealth Games in July next year.
“Beyond that, the arrival of HS2 and the first brand new intercity terminus station built in Britain for over 100 years means Birmingham is continuing to attract national and international interest.”