The floor-by-floor dismantling of Birmingham’s mothballed NatWest Tower has begun.
Development partners Rockspring Property Investment Managers LLP (Rockspring) and Sterling Property Ventures (Sterling) began stripping out the 22-storey building, vacant for more than a decade, in August last year and have partially demolished the former banking hall on Colmore Row. Phase two of the demolition programme, dismantling the tower, has now commenced.
The NatWest Tower, designed by Brutalist architect John Madin, was built in 1975 from pre-cast concrete panels. Two brick built ventilation towers have been removed from the top of the building, allowing work to begin on the main structure. Nineteen miles of scaffolding has been wrapped around the building to facilitate the demolition.
Demolition is expected to complete in autumn this year, with work commencing on Rockspring and Sterling’s 103 Colmore Row in October.
At 26 storeys, the new skyscraper will be the tallest office development under construction outside London. The £60m scheme will comprise 211,000 sq ft of Grade A office space over 19 floors. At street level, plans include a winter garden and a café facing Colmore Row. At the top of the building there is provision for an 8,600 sq ft restaurant with a 3,250 sq ft ‘lantern’ space offering 360-degree views of the city.
Peter Graham, construction director at Sterling, said: “We’ve been on site since August last year, carefully stripping out the interior and removing asbestos. Now that the tower has finally started to come down people can see the good progress we are making.
“The site has had a number of false dawns since it was vacated in 2003, but the removal of this once dominant structure feels like the end of an era, and the most significant visual evidence of Birmingham’s commitment to embrace change.”
Prior to the removal of the top floor of the NatWest Tower, Rockspring and Sterling commissioned photographs of the views from the building.
Two panoramic images, one taken at dawn, the other at dusk, have been released to mark this milestone construction phase.
Eric Linden, European director at Rockspring, said: “The vistas from 103 Colmore Row are the best the city can offer. The contrasting skylines at sunrise and sunset provide an impressive tableau of the city.
“These views will be enjoyed everyday by the occupants of 103 Colmore Rowand our plans to include a restaurant at the top of the building mean they can be shared by all. Within this spirit, we have made the images freely available to download from Facebook*. They make great screensavers!”
Birmingham East #viewfrom103
Birmingham West #viewfrom103
The images are provided royalty free by Rockspring/Sterling.
Higher resolution versions are available upon request