Midlands’ first construction school gets green light from DfE

Birmingham-based contractor and developer Willmott Dixon has welcomed proposals to set up the West Midlands’ first University Technical College (UTC) specialising in construction.

The DfE gave the plans the green light today. The West Midlands Construction University Technical College was the only construction based UTC bid to be given the go ahead in this bidding round.

Willmott Dixon, which employs nearly 1,000 people in Birmingham and the surrounding region, was the lead private sector/employer sponsor of the bid to the Department for Education (DfE) to establish the new institution. This involved the 160 year old building firm taking a clear startegic role, guiding the bid and will involve it in an ongoing relationship with the College. It also builds on the investment that Willmott Dixon is making in its Skills Academy, which is aimed at the adult training sector and will be set up within the city of Birmingham. Continue reading

New tenant at Aqueous 3

Diane Sheldon (centre) from LAH Property Marketing with Ross Kelly and Suzanne Scriven from Carillion outside their new office at Aqueous 3

CBRE has signed up a new tenant at Aqueous 3 in Aston, Birmingham.

Wolverhampton-based support services and construction company Carillion has taken 3,068 sq ft on a six year lease at a rent of £9 per sq ft.

CBRE’s office agency team in Birmingham advised the landlord, CBRE Global Investors, on the letting along with joint agent DTZ.

Aqueous 3 is a 30,000 sq ft, three-storey office building located just off the A38 Aston Expressway. Previously occupied by Npower, the building has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment to provide ‘own front door’ suites as well as single floor plates of c.10,000 sq ft on flexible lease terms. Continue reading

Blooming marvellous decade at Brindleyplace

(L-R) Ethos staff Justyna Swazarla, Keith Potter & Louise Ramsey with founder Mark Gribben (second from right)

Birmingham florist and gift store Ethos is celebrating ten years at its Brindleyplace base.

A decade ago the shop upped sticks from Harborne, where it was originally founded by owner Mark Gribben in 2000, and has flourished ever since.

In 2010, Ethos successfully grafted the 70-year old Margaret Tregoning store and its Interflora membership to the Ethos group.

An online presence, www.ethosflowers.com, promoted via social media, has also boosted the shop’s income stream in challenging times.

In addition to the consumer side of its business, Ethos also has a blossoming corporate base. The florist is responsible for the floral displays in many of Birmingham’s key offices, hotels and bars and has recently added Deutsche Bank, Marketing Birmingham and Brown Shipley to its client roster. Continue reading

CBRE staff pass the baton for fundraising challenge

(L-R) CBRE employees Phil Bartleet and Tom Green

Sixteen employees from the Birmingham office of commercial property consultancy CBRE have taken part in a 1,000-mile relay to raise money for Habitat for Humanity.

The CBRE 2012 relay saw the baton pass from each of the firm’s 15 UK and Ireland offices, through the hands of more than 100 employees over a period of three weeks.

The baton left CBRE’s Aberdeen office on 1 May and finished in London on 22 May. Covering 1,000 miles in total, the relay required each office team to use varying modes of transport to deliver the baton to its next destination.

The baton reached Birmingham on 15 May with the 16 employees in charge of taking it to Bristol.

Continue reading

Mills & Reeve team exceed 100 academy milestone

A team of lawyers from the Birmingham office of national law firm Mills & Reeve have been instructed to advise on more than 37 new projects on behalf of several academies.

Mills & Reeve’s academies team will provide legal advice to schools and sponsors on issues including property, employment, PFI, corporate, pensions, and commercial contracts relating to the conversion and sponsorship of schools to academy status.

Mills & Reeve has a strong track record of advising on academies and to date has been instructed on more than 100 projects. Many of these have local universities and further education colleges as sponsors and education partners, which compliment Mills & Reeve’s strength across the education sector. Continue reading

Dual accolade for CBRE

CBRE has cemented its position as the world’s biggest real estate services firm by being named in the FORTUNE 500 for the fifth consecutive year.

The firm, which is headquartered in Los Angeles and has an office in Birmingham, isthe only commercial real estate services firm ever ranked alongside the USA’s biggest companies by revenue. The firm was placed 416 on the list, up 24 places from last year.

In 2011, CBRE advised on global sales and leasing transactions valued at $159billion and managed more than 3.2billion sq ft of properties across the planet. Continue reading

Major milestone for Two Snowhill

(L-R): Dave Tighe (project director at Balfour Beatty), Simon Jenner (director at Hines UK), Richard Probert (senior development manager for Ballymore), and Anthony Leonard (director at Hines UK)

A ‘topping out’ ceremony has been held 230ft above the Birmingham skyline to celebrate a major milestone in the construction of office development Two Snowhill.

The rooftop ceremony marked the building reaching its highest point, less than 12 months since work recommenced on site, and drew the project a step closer to its completion in January 2013.

More than 35 people attended the event, including representatives from Hines and Ballymore and contractors Balfour Beatty, to thank the workforce and fill in the final piece of concrete. A yew tree was also placed upon the structure to bring good luck to the building. Continue reading