Work to construct an £80m 26-storey tower in Birmingham, which will become the city's tallest office block, has started.

Work on 103 Colmore Row is being led by BAM and is expected to be completed in 2020.

The development will include 223,631 sq ft of office space over 20 floors, and 7,665 sq ft of restaurant space on the ground and top floors.

Designed by architects Doone Silver Kerr, the landmark building will feature a winter garden, 18th floor terrace and multi-purpose lobby business lounges.

Rockspring Property Investment Managers and Sterling Property Ventures are behind the scheme which included the demolition of the former NatWest Tower.

Planning permission was granted in March 2015 and work on the main substructure are due to start in early June.

103 Colmore Row is Rockspring’s second development in Birmingham and the European property investment manager is also behind the city’s first purpose-built private rental scheme, The Forum, in Southside.

Michael Pryer, partner and fund manager at Rockspring, said: "Birmingham is the UK’s most exciting regional city.

"The investment in transport infrastructure and its youthful demographics have made it a magnet for occupiers and inward investors.

"Our confidence in Birmingham is such that we are moving 103 Colmore Row forward.  It is, without doubt, the city’s premier business address."

103 Colmore Row is on the site of the former NatWest Tower. The original proposals to develop the former building, empty since 2003, were shelved during the global economic downturn.

Sterling acquired the site in November 2014 and, partnering with Rockspring, has worked the new scheme through the planning process, a two-year phase demolishing the former NatWest Tower and preparation of the substructure and the procurement of the new building.

James Howarth, managing director of Sterling Property Ventures, said: "It has been a long haul to get to this day but it is undoubtedly a proud one.

"103 Colmore Row will be a simply stunning addition to Birmingham’s skyline, reflecting the aspirations of the city.

"Our top floor bar and restaurant mean the doors of this building will be open not just to commercial occupiers.

"Rod Stiles, regional director for BAM Construction in the Midlands, said: "Our appointment to create 103 Colmore Row means that BAM is engaged on about one quarter of a billion pounds of commercial developments within half a mile of each other in Birmingham’s central business district. This is a testament to our credentials and our track record in the city.

"We’ve been working with our partners at Sterling and Rockspring already and are keen to start what will be a memorable addition to Birmingham’s real estate."

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