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Recession hits Make's almost-built Cube as developer goes under

The team behind Make’s landmark 23-storey Cube tower in Birmingham has today plunged into administration

Birmingham Development Company (BDC) and its own contractor outfit BuildAbility (BAL) said it had been unable to ‘reach an agreement with Lloyds Bank to enable the development to be funded to completion’. The directors of BDC said they had ‘no alternative’ but to ask Lloyds Bank to appoint administrators [PWC] to take over the £100 million project which is due to complete this summer.

A spokesman said: ‘It is a sad day for The Cube, an ambitious project for Birmingham, into which we have put five years of our lives, but like many development projects across the UK, it has succumbed to the pressures of the global economic downturn, which followed the credit crunch.’  

Despite the surprise news, the AJ understands administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers will attempt to press on with scheme and could turn to other private investors to help fund its delivery.

A spokesman for Make said: ‘We are shocked and saddened by the news, especially for BDC, however we are pleased that PWC intend to finish the project and are looking forward to seeing it completed.’

Once finsihed, the mixed use development which its unusual fretwork facade will contain 135 flats, 10,360 m² of offices, shops, a hotel and a ‘skyline’ restaurant and marks the final phase of The Mailbox development by BDC.

Back in August 2007, BDC assured the city the project was still ‘pressing ahead’, despite having to put the sale of the scheme on hold. Work resumed however the original completion date in 2008 was missed.

Postscript 29.03.10

Cube workers urged to carry on

Workers on the Cube development in Birmingham have been told by administrators they will be paid despite the financial problems being faced by the project. Construction firm BulidAbility and the Birmingham Development Company (BSC) called in administrators PwC after talks with Lloyds over an extended bank facility failed.

But PwC has urged all those involved in the project to carry on working and get the Cube development finished on time. The project includes the construction of a hotel, a rooftop restaurant and luxury flats. PwC wants the development to be completed within the next four months so it can market the asset as soon as possible.

Previous Story (18.11.09)

The Cube, Birmingham by Make

[FIRST LOOK] Due for completion in mid 2010, this city centre mixed-use development now has its external cladding of bronze and aluminium panels in place

When complete, The Cube will house a three storey stacking car park system; four floors of retail and restaurants; five floors of offices; nine storeys of buy to let and buy to live apartments; a boutique hotel and a skyline restaurant let to D&D London, formerly Conran.

The architects commented: ‘The Cube’s character is emerging with the large fretwork on the north western facade being lifted into position. Work is well underway on the steel and glass angular rooftop structure which crowns the building and the contractor expects it to be watertight by the end of the year.

Project data

Architect: Make
Contractor: BuildAbility
Services Engineer: Hoare Lea
Structural Engineer: Buro Happold
Quantity Surveyor: Faithful+Gould

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