Berkeley’s new division fires opening shot in Gun Quarter

Berkeley Homes has acquired a site in central Birmingham for the first development under its new West Midlands arm, St Joseph.

The housebuilder, which launched St Joseph in January this year, has bought a site on Shadwell Street in Birmingham’s historic former manufacturing district - known as the Gun Quarter - on which it plans to develop around 400 homes.

The site, which is close to Snow Hill railway station and the city’s central business district, was acquired on a subject-to-planning basis.

St Joseph, which represents Berkeley’s first venture outside London and the South East in more than a decade, is headed by Angus Michie, who is also chairman of Berkeley’s St Edward business — a joint venture with The Prudential Assurance Company focused on high-end London developments.

It was set up partly in response to the challenges facing the prime residential market in the capital in the wake of the EU referendum and increases to stamp duty introduced in 2014.

Return to Birmingham

St Joseph, which was named after the 19th century mayor of Birmingham Joseph Chamberlain, aimed to “bring Berkeley’s traditional focus on quality and placemaking to Birmingham and the West Midlands”, a Berkeley spokesman said.

Previously, Berkeley had not been involved in anything in Birmingham since developing the residential elements of the Mailbox and Brindleyplace regeneration projects in the city centre under the banner of Crosby Homes - a company it sold in 2005.

House price growth in Birmingham has been higher over the past year than in many other parts of the country. Research by CBRE published earlier this month found that prime residential capital values in the city centre were on course to reach £400/sq ft this year, which would mark a return to pre-recession highs.

There are currently 3,500 residential units for market sale under construction in the city centre and a further 6,500 in the pipeline. Combined, the sale prices of these units could total £1.6bn.

Knight Frank advised Berkeley on the deal.

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