It is a long way from Texas to Birmingham, but for Raj Rajput the connection is obvious. Hines, the Texas-based property empire, is rethinking its Birmingham portfolio. And there are lessons there for everyone, says Raj, Managing Director and Head of UK Asset Management.
Hines’ portfolio, which includes 10 West end and City office blocks, as many more in West London, and another half dozen in the regions, is facing a common problem. And that is time. Sooner or later time outruns us all, and it outruns office buildings faster than most things. Today’s funky office space is very rapidly transformed into tomorrow’s unsustainable wellbeing-damaging hulk, and even the best floorspace has to race to keep up with occupier trends.
So what to do about a 20-year-old office block? Raj says the answer is, to be honest, rethink and refurbish. The task of rethinking the 550,000 sq ft Brindleyplace estate in Birmingham begins with the 36,000 sq ft Oozells Building.
It comes ahead of a series of lease breaks and renewals, which will mean around 140,000 sq ft at Brindleyplace has its occupation in doubt.
‘We have been talking to occupiers about how to reposition Brindleyplace, thinking not of some conventional refurbishment, but of something that will stand out,’ says Raj.