Arup to move third largest global office to new City Centre hub at Paradise, Birmingham

Arup to move third largest global office to new City Centre hub at Paradise, Birmingham

09 Aug 2021

Arup, the employee-owned built environment consultancy, is set to move its third largest global office to Paradise Birmingham in a move that will bring 1,000 jobs to Birmingham city centre.

By moving from its existing Solihull campus, Arup is the first occupier to commit to One Centenary Way, the latest building under construction at Paradise. Arup’s new ‘city campus’ will be set across 68,000 sq ft of space over three floors of the new 13 storey building, which is due to complete in early 2023, and will be an international hub for collaboration.

The Paradise redevelopment is being brought forward through Paradise Circus Limited Partnership (PCLP), a private-public joint venture with Birmingham City Council. The private sector funding is being managed by the international business of Federated Hermes, which has partnered with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments) on the first phase of the development. MEPC is the development manager.

Moving to Paradise will be a catalyst for growth and accelerate Arup’s transition to a cleaner and greener way of working with greater use of public transport and more sustainable working practices.

The new city location will help to create an inspiring working space that will see a significant reduction in the company’s carbon footprint. Being in the heart of Britain, the office will also become a natural meeting point for Arup’s 6,000 UK staff, allowing ideas to flow more easily between teams from different parts of the country.

As an important contributor to regional growth, the location enables interactions with the wider West Midlands business ecosystem, allowing Arup to work even more closely and in more innovative ways with clients and collaborators. Responding to a global demand for flexible working, the new office space will be designed with a series of wellbeing and break-out areas for both staff and clients. Importantly, the design includes dedicated space at street level on Centenary Way, allowing Arup to reach out and engage with the public and stakeholders in new ways.

One Centenary Way, which has been designed by Arup in partnership with Glenn Howells Architects, provides a catalyst for Arup’s growth in the UK and accelerates the company’s global commitment to move to net-zero by 2030.

Chair of Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, Tim Pile, said: 

"This move by Arup is hugely significant and it is great to see a leading blue chip, international business choose Paradise as its home. The GBSLEP has invested £139 million into Phase 1 and 2 of Paradise as part of our Enterprise Zone Investment Plan and we are already seeing the benefits for our region. Overall, we expect 10,000 jobs will be delivered along with 1.7m sq ft of new prime floorspace.

"As a LEP we exist to create inclusive economic growth by working in partnership with our local authorities, businesses and academic partners. Paradise is a perfect example of how joined-up decision making is a catalyst for further investment from the private sector. By investing in the infrastructure and improving our city landscape, we are creating the right environment for high profile businesses like Arup to locate their global offices in the heart of Birmingham City Centre which creates further opportunities for businesses. This is a really positive move as we all look towards re-opening and the economic recovery after Covid-19."

Mark Jones, Birmingham office leader at Arup, said: 

"Our investment in this move to Paradise Birmingham in 2023 represents a major commitment to the region. It supports our global aim to build flexible workspace and is a significant milestone in our journey towards achieving net-zero emissions across our global operations by 2030.
"We are incredibly proud of this new location and the role it will play in bringing 1,000 jobs to the City Centre. Our new office has been designed by us and for us and will feature advanced technologies enabling us to operate in a highly efficient way. It will create an environment where our colleagues can be authentic and find balance by working flexibly whilst continuing to deliver excellence for our clients.
"One Centenary Way is very well connected, has unbeatable public transport links and we are excited to be co-investing in the city’s first cycle hub. Being much closer to our clients and collaborators is vital, and we hope to create new ways of working with others by using intelligent office space and sharing our workplace setting in an open, welcoming and inspiring way.
"We look forward to playing a key role in the local community, helping young children and students to be inspired by design and engineering and encouraging them to follow STEM education pathways. Sustainable development is at the heart of our work and our trusted relationship with the Paradise team has allowed us to creatively lead by example. We are hopeful that our new office will inspire others and be a global example of outstanding sustainability."

Rob Groves, regional development director with Paradise development manager MEPC, said: 

"This is a very significant pre-let for Birmingham’s latest landmark building. One Centenary Way has already benefited from the input of the Arup team and we share a trusted and longstanding partnership and a shared commitment to creating innovative new places and spaces.
"To welcome the same Arup team to the building they helped to create is therefore a huge vote of confidence not just in Paradise, but in Birmingham city centre. Arup is also showing the way and leading by example by creating a more sustainable workplace of the future in the very heart of the country."

Chris Taylor, CEO of Real Estate at the international business of Federated Hermes, said:

"This is yet another example of the kind of world class occupier we can draw into the heart of Birmingham when we create the right environment. As a major international business, Arup is showing confidence not just in Birmingham, but in the UK as a whole by investing here in Paradise in a location where it can change its working practices and continue to innovate, flourish and grow.
"As long-term investors, we are committed to maintaining a forward-thinking approach and bringing forward a scheme that will truly meet the needs of occupiers in the years to come."

Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr Ian Ward, said: 

"Arup is a major international business, but it is also one with very deep local roots, having had a presence in Birmingham since the 1960s. The West Midlands is already home to the third largest office of anywhere in the Arup global network and the company is yet another example, along with nearby HSBC, BT and PwC, of large, blue chip businesses being able to evolve and grow their operations right here in the heart of the city by making a move to more innovative workspace.
"This is happening not only due to the high-quality commercial space we have available and in the development pipeline, but also thanks to the sheer quality of people and access to the right skills, universities, research and development and public services any global business needs to thrive."

Instead of leading the designers of One Centenary Way towards a conservative approach, the issues of building on top of the A38 Queensway tunnel fuelled innovative ideas and solutions, both in the way the building is being constructed, but also in how it delivers its functionality.

Innovation is built into the very design from the ground up and allows for a unique look and feel to the entire structure which at 280,000 sq ft will be one of the largest single office buildings in the city. Arup’s own role in the building’s design means the organisation has a unique understanding of the space it has chosen and an insight into the wider Paradise development.

Paradise Birmingham has already completed phase one of its development with One Chamberlain Square and Two Chamberlain Square providing some of the best views in Birmingham with stunning vistas across Chamberlain Square itself and of the city’s impressive Classical and Victorian civic architecture.

PwC, the leading professional services firm, has already moved its 2,000-strong team to One Chamberlain Square while DLA Piper has taken the top two floors of Two Chamberlain Square along with space going to Knights and Mazars.

BNP Paribas and Reed Smith acted for Arup while Avison Young, CBRE and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP advised MEPC on the letting.

At almost 2 million square feet, Paradise will deliver up to ten new flagship buildings, offering offices, shops, bars, cafés, restaurants, a high-quality hotel and plans for a 49 storey residential tower across 17 acres in the heart of the city.

Paradise sits in the country’s largest city centre Enterprise Zone and has already benefited from investment by the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) in enabling and infrastructure works.

A website showcasing the vision for Paradise, in addition to a live time-lapse camera and all the latest news about the development, can be viewed at

Share this article: Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn