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Two on Rotunda revamp shortlist


JUST two firms have been asked to tender a £20 million overhaul of Birmingham's famous city centre Rotunda.

Laing O'Rourke and Wates have returned bids to Manchester developer Urban Splash for the scheme, which will convert the iconic 1960s cylindrical building into 234 luxury flats.

The Rotunda was previously home to offices.The revamped structure will have a glass facade, and wedge-shaped apartments.

Living areas will be built around the edge of the building with kitchens and bathrooms at the core.

The top floor will consist of four exclusive penthouse apartments, expected to carry a price tag of around £500,000 each.

The building will also be capped with a light feature visible across Birmingham's landscape.

Urban Splash is joint client with the Birmingham Alliance, made up of developers Hammerson, Henderson Global Investors and Land Securities.

One source close to the scheme said:

'Wates won't be overly impressed that, having heard they only faced one team, it was Laing O'Rourke.'

The Rotunda stands 81 m tall and overlooks Birmingham New Street Station and the new Bull Ring development, which in the past had threatened its existence.The grade II listed structure also survived an IRA bomb left in a pub at the foot of the building in 1974.

Birmingham Alliance development director Jon Emery said: 'The Rotunda is an icon for the city but has become very tired over the past few years and is really in need of refurbishment.This is particularly apparent when you look at it next to the architecture of the Bullring, Selfridges and the newly cleaned St Martin's Church.'

Birmingham City Council has already approved the scheme, allowing designs to be finalised to convert the 22-storey building into the city's most exclusive residential address.

Work is expected to start next year and the project will take around two years to complete.The refurbishment was designed by local architect Glenn Howells.