Our changing city – how Birmingham is rising in the world faster than the speed of light

The tallest crane Birmingham has ever seen is soon arriving in Paradise, ready to begin construction of the city’s tallest building. When completed in 2025, the Octagon at the Summer Row end of Paradise will be 155 meters (509ft) tall – but the crane to reach it to that height will be a staggering 179 meters (587ft).

By comparison, the Blackpool Tower is 158 meters (518ft 9in) and the Rotunda across Birmingham city center is 81 meters (266ft) – the Empire State Building in New York is 1,250 feet. In an interview with architect Dev Bansal two years ago, octagon architect Dev Bansal told BirminghamLive: ‘We want to create the most beautiful city center homes Birmingham, if not Britain, has ever seen. , in a place simply incomparable and (is). ..part of this world class destination.”

In the video above you can see the Victorian building which was demolished last year at 31-33 Essex Street to make way for a new Bristol Street tower which will be at least 28 stories tall – image from the same site with the concrete core now begins to rise is lower.

Read more:Paradise developers are planning an octagonal tower in Birmingham – ‘the tallest of its kind in the world’

Meanwhile, other developments across the city center literally seem to be springing up like mushrooms thanks to the rapid growth of their concrete cores. Once these stalk the sky, the rest of the buildings can be built around them.

There are several major projects underway where cores are already having a major impact on the city’s skyline and you can see them in our attached photo story, here:



They include the Cortland Broad Street site off Ryland Street, directly opposite the Cineworld cinema; Exchange Square on Moor Street Queensway, Holloway Head at the end of Bath Row near the Postbox and Southside area between Bromsgrove Street and Kent Street and the building along Pershore Road next to the Edgbaston Stadium cricket ground.

All change the way the city will be perceived in the future. A good example is to visit the leafy Calthorpe Estate in Edgbaston and walk up Calthorpe Road towards Five Ways.

Traffic on this one-way street veers away from the site, so drivers may not realize how much the scene behind them changes.



A Calthorpe Estate view of the last concrete core on Broad Street seen from the B4217 Calthorpe Road in Edgbaston
A view of Calthorpe Estate from the last concrete core on Broad Street, seen from the B4217 Calthorpe Road in Edgbaston. May 15, 2022

But when you walk up to Five Ways, you can see how the core on the corner of Broad Street and Ryland Street fills in the gap created by the foliage of the trees.

The Calthorpe Estate has been in the Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe family for over 300 years after the land was purchased by London merchant Sir Richard Gough in 1717. Almost a century later George, 3rd Baron Calthorpe started to develop Edgbaston for residential purposes. and today it is one of the most beautiful urban areas in England.

Although developments on the ground have always been controlled and are generally low rise, the impact of the new tower on Broad Street illustrates how the growth of the city will alter the urban landscape beyond local borders.

Another new core has just started at the junction of Essex Street and Bristol Street in place of another lost corner of Victorian heritage buildings which are featured in the video above. The corner building dates from 1890. Just two minutes walk from the town’s most popular tourist attraction, the National Trust’s Back to Backs, it had a brick, stone and tile exterior, but having been left to rot, he was, of course, supported, that it was dangerous and he fell.



Work is underway to build a tower of at least 28 floors at 31-33 Essex Street/Bristol Street after Victorian properties were demolished to make way for it.  May 29, 2022
Work is underway to build a tower of at least 28 floors at 31-33 Essex Street/Bristol Street after Victorian properties were demolished to make way for it. May 29, 2022

One of the important factors regarding the replacement of the tower is how prominently it will appear from the top of Suffolk Street Queensway as well as to motorists heading into the city along Bristol Street. The image above with the crane shows how the core will tower over the low-rise buildings around it.

Likewise, the core of The Exchange on Moor Street Queensway can now be seen from several key vantage points around the city. One day, perhaps, all these new buildings will be like the equivalent of beacons, landmarks visible by looking directly along the various roads that criss-cross Brum.

Whether people will end up loving them and loving them as much as, say, La Rotonde, in generations to come, only time will tell.

And, indeed, if they will be built well enough to stand the test of time – the Empire State Building in New York took just 410 days and was completed 91 years ago in 1931.

Unlike the two Bank Towers on Broad Street, the Moda Living Tower opposite and the new 103 Colmore Row Tower near Birmingham Cathedral in the city centre, none of the projects featured here will be ready in time for the Commonwealth Games.

But visitors will leave after seeing dozens of cranes as they work across the city, a sign of our continued dedication to areas like Paradise, now described as a “£1.2billion development transforming central Birmingham, attracting new businesses, jobs and visitors to the city.”

Look: We went to a secret preview of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony – here’s how it went

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