Former John Lewis in Birmingham’s Grand Central to be transformed into office space, food hall & more

The proposed new 200,000 ft2 workspace at the former John Lewis store at Grand Central in Birmingham City Centre is expected to accommodate up to 2,000 people
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Real Estate company Hammerson - the owners of Bullring & Grand Central - are planning to transform the former John Lewis store in Birmingham City Centre into a giant office space called The Drum.

Subject to receiving planning permission, work will begin later this year, with the potential for completion in 2025. They have brought in Make Architects for the project. A statement from Make Architects said the design will centre around “embedding health, wellbeing, and social amenity” into the office which will include a restaurant, bar and food market.

The proposed new 200,000 ft2 space in the four-storey shop which has been empty for three years, is expected to accommodate up to 2,000 people with developers pledging it will be the best-connected offices in Birmingham - having train and tram, and cycle and pedestrian access.

Hammerson is also adding Marks & Spencer to the former Debenhams space in the Bullring & Grand Central. They will also be home to brands like Tessuti and TOCA Social in the future.

What will the Drum at John Lewis look like?

Drum will extend the former department store’s atrium through all the four floors of the building to include a sweeping, open, communal entrance that widens as it rises, providing visual connectivity between the floors and drawing daylight right down through the heart of the space.

It will also lead to a newly created rooftop garden lounge, an important external, communal space for residents. Green walls on each level will give the appearance of the garden spilling back down through the building.

Hammerson to transform former John Lewis store in Birmingham’s Grand Central (Photo - Hammerson)Hammerson to transform former John Lewis store in Birmingham’s Grand Central (Photo - Hammerson)
Hammerson to transform former John Lewis store in Birmingham’s Grand Central (Photo - Hammerson)

The ground floor - which is 40,000 sq ft, will offer amenities that supports tenants and enhances the experience for other visitors. The 40,000 sq ft space will complement the existing food and hospitality hub in Grand Central, adding a combined hospitality space with restaurant, bar and food market.

Space for a premium grocery offer, gym, wellbeing amenities, flexible events space, and end of trip facilities for cyclists will also be created.

HammersonHammerson
Hammerson

What the stakeholders said

Harry Badham, Chief Development and Asset Repositioning Officer at Hammerson, said: “This project is the next step in Hammerson’s vision to transform our Birmingham estate, creating a truly multi-use asset that thrives due to its relevance and diversity.

“Inspired by the 15-minute city concept Drum is also an original and highly important evolution of workplaces, built on the principles of connectivity, amenities, and sustainability. It will bring to Birmingham a new type of workspace that meets the requirements post-pandemic of established and start-up businesses, creating a new world-class environment at this key national interchange and gateway to the UK’s fastest growing city.”

What the Drum will look like in the future (Photo - Hammerson) What the Drum will look like in the future (Photo - Hammerson)
What the Drum will look like in the future (Photo - Hammerson)

Ken Shuttleworth, Founding Partner at Make Architects, commented: “We’ve been creatively considering how we rethink big box retail within city centres, to ensure we can enliven these key spaces and draw people back into the workplace by prioritising wellbeing and dynamism. We’ve applied this here so the design for Drum goes beyond a traditional workspace in every sense.”

Greg Willis, project architect said: “The designs work really hard to create an outstanding workplace whilst saving significant embodied energy through the reuse of the structure.”