28 August 2020/ Area guides

Office leasing guide: Birmingham

Offices to rent in Birmingham

The beating heart of the Midlands, Birmingham is a thriving location for all kinds of businesses. Known for its industry, diversity and ever-changing skyline, this huge metropolis provides a wealth of offices with plenty of opportunities for networking and growth. Whether you are looking for a creative shared space as the ideal base for a start-up to hit the ground running or somewhere for your business to put down roots and evolve, you’ll find it here.

With nearly 3 million people living in and around Birmingham, this central location is a great place to attract top UK talent. It is also known for its excellent transport links. Birmingham New Street is one of the UK’s major transport hubs. From here, a train to London takes as little as an hour and a half, and a train to Manchester has a similar journey time.

For the past 400 years or so, Birmingham has been associated with great industry. Even before the industrial revolution, it became a hub of forges and furnaces. There have always been skilled craftspeople in the city, and it is also known for its extensive jewellery trade. A number of significant innovations were made in Birmingham, largely involving manufacturing but also in engineering with the invention of the steam engine. What is perhaps lesser known is its corporate associations - with Lloyds Bank founded in the city.

In more recent years, Birmingham has seen extensive regeneration. The Big City Plan is a 20-year project designed to bring Birmingham into a new era, create thousands of jobs and enable the population to grow. The likes of The Mailbox, the International Convention Centre and the Bullring Shopping Centre have all come about as part of regeneration projects and they have brought a sense of prestige and unity to the city.

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Key business areas

There are distinct zones across Birmingham ranging from the artsy to the corporate, helping every business to feel at home.

Young businesses will find their ideal environment in a number of different districts. The famous Jewellery Quarter is home to more than 100 retailers, but it also houses lots of smart offices. With plenty of quirky restaurants and bars, this part of Birmingham has a distinct energy. Businesses with a creative focus will also enjoy Digbeth, an artistic hub made up of renovated industrial buildings, like the Custard Factory. You’ll find design, social media, video and marketing agencies aplenty in this area.

If your business is in the financial services, legal, construction, commerce, and utilities sectors, for example, you’ll most likely prefer the more corporate environment of the city centre, Colmore Business District and Brindleyplace. In the city centre, you’ll find plenty of grade A offices and handy amenities on your doorstep. Colmore Business District is a real nucleus for corporate companies, and here you’ll find stylish office blocks and eateries that are bound to make an excellent first impression for any clients. Opting for Brindleyplace gives you a slightly calmer environment by the canal. With tree-lined streets, waterways and renowned venues like the International Convention Centre and Symphony Hall, Brindleyplace has a touch of class.

When team meetings turn into team outings, lots of groups like to head to Birmingham’s Southside. Incorporating Chinatown, Theatreland and The Gay Village, it offers a vibrant mix of bars, restaurants and theatres, and there is always something to do. There are a few offices dotted about these areas, but it is most common to choose a neighbouring location and then venture here after 6 pm.

Getting around Birmingham

Birmingham is well connected via train linesWith eight local train lines, it’s easy to commute in and out of Birmingham from the likes of Worcester and Solihull. If you’re travelling further afield, you’ll find lots of direct services to major UK cities, like London, Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham and Bristol from Birmingham New Street station. You can expect these journeys to take around two hours or less, making Birmingham ideal for businesses with lots of networking in the diary.

Birmingham has a fantastic tram and bus networkThe tram and bus network makes it easy to get around the city centre for meetings and social occasions. Quick contactless payments ensure it’s a hassle-free and cost-effective way to travel. Using the Metro tram service, you can travel all the way from the Library of Birmingham to Wolverhampton. Along the way, it stops at popular places including Grand Central, the Jewellery Quarter, Winson Green, West Bromwich Central, Wednesbury and Priestfield.

Cycling in and around BirminghamFor those who prefer to travel by two wheels, the Birmingham Cycle Revolution team has created a number of traffic-free routes around the city. It has a relatively compact centre, so cycling around is fairly easy. The canals also offer flat and easy-to-navigate routes, including a 15-mile path to Wolverhampton. It is possible to hire Brompton bikes for as little as £2.50 a day, so you don’t need to worry about bringing your own bike to the office if this isn’t practical.

Business amenities in Birmingham

Popular Birmingham's hotelsMany of Birmingham’s popular hotels are dotted around the west of the city centre, near the Library of Birmingham and the International Convention Centre. This area is close to both the city centre and Brindleyplace. Here, you’ll find big names, such as the Hyatt Regency, Hilton and Crowne Plaza.

Top restaurants, cafés and bars in BirminghamThere’s a restaurant, café or bar for every occasion. If you’re taking a client out to lunch, you’ll find prestigious restaurants in Brindleyplace at Colmore Business District, including Maribel, Pulperia and Tattu Restaurant and Bar. For something more relaxed, head to the Jewellery Quarter where you’ll find The Button Factory and stylish pubs and cafes serving delicious plates. When the last few emails have been sent and you want to treat the team, Digbeth Dining Club hosts a huge array of street stalls, and there’s often events going on creating a buzzing atmosphere. For something lower key, head to the streets of Digbeth instead where you’ll find all kinds of restaurants serving everything from Teppanyaki to all-American burgers.

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Meeting spaces in BirminghamAs a prime business hub, there are lots of places to host meetings in Birmingham. The Library of Birmingham is a world-class venue, ideal for hosting large events like conferences. De Vere Colmore Gate and The Birmingham Conference Centre are less prestigious but offer a corporate setting for important meetings.

For a creative workshop space, the Custard Factory provides a number of facilities geared towards both meetings and events. You’ll also find The Engine Room close by, which has a similar stylish yet industrial style.

Offices, serviced offices and co-working spaces to rent in Birmingham

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Vibrant evenings out in BirminghamEvenings out in Birmingham are vibrant and there is something for everyone. For a taste of culture, there’s a calendar of events at Symphony Hall, The Mockingbird Bar and Theatre, Utilita Arena and the Birmingham Royal Ballet. You’ll also find more laidback live music at The Jam House. For those who love film, the UK’s oldest working cinema, The Electric Cinema, offers an interesting evening out. If all you want is a good cocktail, you can rely on The Botanist, The Alchemist, 40 St Pauls and The Jekyll and Hyde.

Other amenities nearbyThe Bullring and Grand Central offer all the shops you could need in Birmingham, with over 200 stores, as well as places to eat. If you need any supplies while you’re in the office, you’ll find it here. The Mailbox is the place to go for luxury brands, while Piccadilly Arcade has some unique independent stores.

Large fitness chains including PureGym, The Gym, Nuffield Health and Bannatyne Health Club all have gyms in the city. They’re dotted across the centre and in key hubs such as Edgbaston, Digbeth and Brindleyplace.

Key office occupiers

Well-known businesses based in Birmingham include:

  • Lloyds Banking Group
  • HSBC
  • CrossCountry
  • KPMG
  • Vax

Key agents

  • Savills
  • Avison Young
  • Siddall Jones
  • CBRE
  • JLL
  • KWB
  • Cushman & Wakefield

Interesting facts about Birmingham

A number of the UK’s favourite sweet treats were produced in Birmingham, including Bird’s Custard, Cadbury’s chocolate and Bournville Drinking Chocolate.

The Library of Birmingham is the largest public library in all of Europe.

The popular curry, Balti, was invented in Birmingham, and there are over 100 Balti houses serving up the delicious spiced dish in the city today.

Birmingham has 56km of canals, which is more than you’ll find in Venice.

Each year, Birmingham welcomes millions of visitors to enjoy over 50 festivals, including film, food and jazz celebrations.

The Jewellery Quarter makes 40% of all of the UK’s jewellery.