Published on:

14 December 2021

Updated on:

23 October 2023

Read time:

less than a minute

An underperforming leisure venue in Birmingham has been transformed into sustainable new Grade A office accommodation, reviving one of the city۪s landmarks.

Office Principles North has restored and refurbished more than 16,000 sq ft of space at the Rum Runner Works in Regency Wharf, in collaboration with landlord Picton.

Rum Runner Works has been shortlisted as a finalist in the Refurbished and Recycled Workplace category at the 2022British Council for OfficesAwards, Midlands & Central England region.

The scheme, which lies on the site of the legendary former nightclub, the Rum Runner, has retained much of the building۪s original structure and facade to deliver a unique, modern office space with expansive views of the Gas Street Basin.

The self-contained building can be occupied as either a single headquarters or as flexible office suites ranging in size from 3,741 sq ft.

Its design incorporates period features, exposed services and feature lighting to give the glass and steel construction an industrial feel reflective of Recency Wharf۪s manufacturing past.

Spaces are characterised by large floor to ceiling heights, including a double height reception area, with full access raised floors, while partition walls have been removed on the top floor of the building to create an open mezzanine with an internal balustrade.

The refurbishment offers a series of onsite amenities for the end user, including lift access, bicycle storage and shower facilities. A previously unusable infill has been reimagined as contemporary outdoor space, with private external terraces and a central courtyard for events and functions.

The frontage of the building has been sandblasted to expose the original brickwork, with the existing cladding resprayed. A new memorabilia wall and illuminated signage has been installed in a nod to the site۪s heritage, drawing attention from passing traffic on Broad Street.

Office Principles has introduced new highly efficient M&E systems and on site renewable power generation, and gas has been removed completely from the building, enhancing the scheme۪s sustainability credentials.

The Rum Runner Works lies on the site of Duran Duran۪s former gig and rehearsal venue, which was made famous during the New Romantic years.

Founded in the 1960s, the Rum Runner hosted live gigs and offered free rehearsal space to Dexy۪s Midnight Runners and UB40. The building was demolished in 1987 to make way for the Hyatt Hotel.

Gary Tailby, managing director of Office Principles North, said: We۪re really proud to have delivered an inspiring new office scheme in a fabulous canalside location. At its heart the project has been a sustainable refurbishment, creating a modern, unique place of work but we have restored more than just a building. This project has reminded Birmingham of an important piece of its recent cultural history and created a new stop on its tourist trail. It۪s a piece of history with an exciting new future.۝

Tim Hamlin, director of asset manager at Picton, said: The site of the Rum Runner Works has a rich and colourful history, firstly as a glassworks in the 1800s and more recently as the location of the Rum Runner nightclub. Through the refurbishment of the building, we wanted to pay homage to both these important eras, given their significance to the city.

Another key element to the project was sustainability. Occupiers are demanding greener office spaces and I believe we have delivered this by, wherever possible, retaining the existing structure and facades to reduce waste and embodied carbon, whilst also introducing a new clean energy supply. We have also completely removed fossil fuels from the building. The concept was to fully reposition the building for the modern occupier, but also to respect and retain the link to the history of the site.۝

Theo Holmes, director in the office agency team at CBRE in Birmingham, which is marketing the space, said: Picton and Office Principles have done a brilliant job on the building, sympathetically converting it to create a modern, high spec office environment that retains its history and heritage. As well as benefiting from the building۪s on-site amenities and views of the canal basin, occupiers will also be able to take advantage of its location, with Brindleyplace and The Mailbox on the doorstep and the city centre a short walk or tram ride away.۝

For more information, please visit the Rum Runner Works website.