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New Plans For ‘energy Positive’ Birmingham Apartment Block

A new residential and commercial project which is aiming to be a benchmark for green development has been unveiled in Birmingham city centre.

Called Gather & Soul, the project would see a new apartment block constructed on canalside land overlooking Gas Street Basin.

The application site at 52 Gas Street is currently occupied by a former gun factory which was later used as a stables for the canal and was also home to legendary nightclub Bobby Browns before it closed down in 2003.

A new bar called The Verve Lounge opened in the building in February.

The building would be replaced by two adjoining blocks of 15 and seven storeys respectively, most likely by the end of next year or early 2026 subject to securing planning consent.

Aimed at young professionals, it would have 155 co-living studio apartments with communal kitchens and dining spaces to encourage a socialising culture among tenants. Other proposed facilities include roof terraces, gym, cinema room, social spaces and laundry room.

It adjoins the Gas Street Canal Basin Toll House which would be retained and converted into co-working spaces for residents.

The scheme, proposed by the main building’s owner GNM Developments and designed by Broadway Malyan, is aiming to become a national leader in sustainable and energy-efficient buildings.

The development would have a specialised solar façade on the main building, projected to generate more than 427,000 kilowatt hours of energy a year.

This would not only serve the building’s energy needs but also contribute surplus electricity back to the grid, helping to illuminate Gas Street.

Gerald Manton is managing director of GNM Developments and also chairman of Westside Business Improvement District which covers the application site.

He said: “We are excited that our proposals will be a first, not only for Birmingham but for the entire UK. This will be the UK’s first multi-storey energy positive building.

“This will be part of Westside for a long time to come and hopefully be an example of how buildings can be done differently. We also aim to make an enormous positive benefit to the lower end of Gas Street.

“This development is aligned with Birmingham’s Future City Plan which proposes ambitious sustainability targets that focus on reducing carbon emissions and promoting renewable energy sources.

“As well as generating surplus clean energy, the Gather & Soul development aims to reduce the building’s reliance on energy use, such as air-conditioning and artificial lighting, and conserve water while also promoting the use of public transport.”

Referring specifically to the new Verve bar, Mr Manton added: “The Verve Lounge is a valued tenant in the current building and is fully aware of our long-term plans.

“Verve would of course have the option to continue to take space in this exciting development if it goes ahead.”

A public consultation event is being held at Quayside Tower, in Broad Street, from 11am to 3pm on Wednesday May 1. Email [email protected] for more details. Comments can also be left via an online form here until May 7 after which a planning application will be lodged.

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