Mailbox Birmingham

Last updated

Mailbox Birmingham
Mailbox at Night.jpg
Mailbox Birmingham from Suffolk Street Queensway
Mailbox Birmingham
Location Birmingham, England
Coordinates 52°28′34.42″N1°54′15.32″W / 52.4762278°N 1.9042556°W / 52.4762278; -1.9042556 Coordinates: 52°28′34.42″N1°54′15.32″W / 52.4762278°N 1.9042556°W / 52.4762278; -1.9042556
Address7 Commercial Street [1]
Opening dateDecember 2000
DeveloperBirmingham Development Company
Architect1997 - Associated Architects
2013 - Stanton Williams
No. of anchor tenants 1 Harvey Nichols
No. of floors6

Mailbox Birmingham (also known as The Mailbox) is a mixed-use development located within the city centre of Birmingham, England.


The scheme comprises 689,000 sq. ft. of primarily office space, with ancillary retail and leisure offering, located on a 4.8-acre waterside site. [2] It is home to occupiers including BBC Birmingham, WSP, Associated Architects, Harvey Nichols, Malmaison Birmingham and other leading stores and restaurants.

The Mailbox is about 300 metres (980 ft) long from front to back including The Cube. Above the front shops it has an additional 6 floors which includes a hotel and residential apartments. The Worcester and Birmingham Canal passes along the back with a number of restaurants overlooking.


Restaurants at the canal side of the Mailbox The Mailbox 03.jpg
Restaurants at the canal side of the Mailbox

Previously the location of a railway goods yard with canal wharves off the Worcester and Birmingham Canal leading to Gas Street Basin, the site was the location of the Royal Mail's main sorting office building for Birmingham (hence its current name) which was completed in 1970, replacing the Victorian head post office (now Victoria Square House), in Victoria Square. The new building was designed by R. H. Ousman of the Ministry of Public Building and Works, who collaborated with project architect H. A. E. Giddings and with Hubbard Ford & Partners, who supplied E. Winters and R. Lee as architects. When completed, it was the largest mechanised letters and parcels sorting office in the country with a floor area of 20 acres (81,000 m2) and the largest building in Birmingham. A tunnel was constructed between the site and New Street railway station allowing electric tractors hauling carts carrying sacks of mail to be driven directly to the office. The structure housed the largest electronic sorting equipment in the West Midlands to handle the post. [3] It also housed the administrative teams moved from Victoria Square, including those for other Post Office functions, such as counter services.

The main entrance was located at Blucher Street beneath a tower set between a square block for parcels on the left and a lower block for the letters sorting office on the right. The structure consisted of a steel frame on a 40-foot (12 m) square grid with lightweight pre-cast concrete floor slabs and reinforced concrete retaining walls and sub floors. The exterior was clad with cast glass troughs and exposed aggregate panels. Ventilation was provided through air-handling units which provided the building with the temperature it required. Extract fans were also placed on the roof. The exterior consisted mainly of the glass slabs and projecting air handling units with recessed windows. [3]



The Cube is the last phase of development at the Mailbox The Cube birmingham.jpg
The Cube is the last phase of development at the Mailbox
A view of the BBC Birmingham Offices from the outside of the Mailbox The Mailbox 02.jpg
A view of the BBC Birmingham Offices from the outside of the Mailbox

The Royal Mail sorting office was recognised by Chatham in 1997.[ clarification needed ] Chatham had been an important figure in the regeneration of Birmingham, working with Argent to develop Brindleyplace. He found out that the sorting office was to be sold and tried to convince Argent about the potential the building offered if it were to be converted into a mixed-use building. Argent was unconvinced and so Chatham decided to establish his own development company, Birmingham Development Company, and purchased the building in 1998 for £3 million. He also paid a further £1 million for the surrounding waterfront buildings. [4] Soon after purchasing the building, he sold the air-rights to Crosby Homes, providing him with further money for redeveloping the building. [4]

The building was converted by the Birmingham Development Company and designed by the RIBA award winning, Birmingham practice, Associated Architects. It was to include two hotels with a total of 300 rooms, 15,850 sq. m (170,000 sg. ft.) of office space, 9,290 sq. m (100,000 sq ft.) of retail space and a similar area for restaurants and a health club. [4] Crosby Homes constructed apartments above the space. The redevelopment of the sorting office involved demolition of all but the steel sub-structure. It cost £150 million overall and opened in December 2000. Following the purchase of two retail units by Harvey Nichols, the development was valued at over £125 million. [4]

A public square the size of Chamberlain Square [ clarification needed ] was created to the front of the Mailbox beneath Suffolk Street Queensway. It was paved with natural stone and as well as being a social area, it was also designed to allow the easy movement of visitors to, from and around the building. The area to the rear of the building is used frequently by the public. At the back of the Mailbox a walkway leads over a bridge and to the canal towpaths near Gas Street Basin. A mixed-use building called the Cube, designed by Birmingham born architect Ken Shuttleworth's practice Make Architects with Buro Happold engineers forms the final phase of the Mailbox development and houses a rooftop restaurant, boutique hotel and residential flats.

In 2004, BBC Birmingham moved into a new complex of studios at the Mailbox that replaced the previous Pebble Mill site in Edgbaston. The general public is able to watch radio and television broadcasts being made at an all-access public foyer, as well as surf the BBC website and purchase BBC merchandise. On 31 October 2005, 81-year-old actress Mary Wimbush died at the Mailbox studios shortly after a recording session for The Archers . [5] On 16 February 2008, a shooting incident took place at Cafe Lazeez at the Mailbox. [6]

In April 2011 the Mailbox was sold for £127.1 million to a joint venture between Brockton Capital and Milligan. [7]


On 30 May 2013, Milligan Retail announced that the Mailbox would undergo a major renovation, designed by Sterling Prize winners Stanton Williams, which would see a roof installed over the shopping complex's atrium. The anchor store, Harvey Nichols, would double in size to over 45,000 sq. ft. It was also announced that Brockton Capital and Milligan would work in co-ordination with Birmingham City Council to improve the public area reaching from the underpass beneath Suffolk Street Queensway to the front of Mailbox. These changes would be implemented to complement the redevelopment of New Street station which will house a full-line John Lewis department store. [8]

On 29 November 2013, it was announced that Everyman Cinemas would take space at the Mailbox, opening a 12,000 sq. ft 3-screen cinema in the latter part of 2014, ahead of the completion of the whole scheme in 2015. L.K.Bennett, Jaeger and Gieves and Hawkes will also open in the redeveloped centre in 2015 whilst an improved way-finding system will be introduced to improve shoppers' experience. [9]


On Friday 13 March 2015, Gas Street Social opened at the Mailbox [10]

IPSX listing

In December 2019, Brockton Capital and Milligan sold the Mailbox to M7 Real Estate ("M7"). [11]

In October 2020, M7 announced its intention to float Mailbox on the International Property Securities Exchange ("IPSX"), making it the first single property REIT to be listed on a recognised stock exchange. Shares in Mailbox REIT commenced trading on 14th May 2021. [12]

M7 is currently in the process of converting level one of the Mailbox from retail into 50,000 sq. ft. of flexible office space, which will be operated by IWG plc under its Spaces co-working brand under a new 10 year agreement. This arrangement will see occupiers of the Spaces offices pay rent directly to the Mailbox REIT with IWG plc's management fees based on a percentage of rent received. [13]

List of occupiers

FashionLifestyleFood & DrinkFilmBeautyOfficesHotels
Hugo Boss BBC Birmingham Miller & Carter Everyman Cinema Toni & Guy Essensuals WSP Malmaison
Tommy Hilfiger Castle Fine ArtAlunaNicky Clarke Associated Architects AC Hotel
Calvin Klein Underwear Harvey Nichols Gas Street SocialJames Bushell Hair
Paul Smith Everyman Cinema Bar Estilo Malmaison Spa
Gieves & Hawkes Ribble Cycles Chez Mal
James LakelandH2O Car ValetingLucarelli
Siematic Kitchen GalleryCôte Brasserie
Harvey Jones Kitchens Indico Street Kitchen
Medicine Bakery Bar
The Mailbox was built on the white area just below the Central Goods Depot on this map Birmingham Worcester Wharf Central Goods Depot OS map 2nd edition 1905 showing canals rail tunnels and Central Goods and New Street stations.jpg
The Mailbox was built on the white area just below the Central Goods Depot on this map

Related Research Articles

Bull Ring, Birmingham Major shopping centre in central Birmingham

The Bull Ring is a major shopping centre in central Birmingham. When combined with Grand Central it is the United Kingdom's largest city centre based shopping centre and has been an important feature of Birmingham since the Middle Ages, when its market was first held. Two shopping centres have been built in the area; in the 1960s, and then in 2003; the latter is styled as one word, Bullring.


Brindleyplace is a large mixed-use canalside development, in the Westside district of Birmingham, England. It was named after Brindley Place, the name of the street around which it is built. It was developed by the Argent Group from 1993 onwards. In addition to shops, bars and restaurants, Brindleyplace is home to the National Sea Life Centre, Royal Bank of Scotland, Orion Media, Ikon Gallery of art and the Crescent Theatre. The site covers 17 acres (69,000 m²) of mixed-use redevelopment on a grand scale - the UK's largest such project. The Birmingham Canal Navigations Main Line Canal separates Brindleyplace from the International Convention Centre, although there are linking bridges. The National Indoor Arena, Old Turn Junction and bustling bars of Broad Street are nearby and it is easily accessible and within walking distance of the main bus, metro (tram) and rail routes.

Chamberlain Square

Chamberlain Square or Chamberlain Place is a public square in central Birmingham, England, named after statesman and notable mayor of Birmingham, Joseph Chamberlain. The Victorian square was drastically remodelled in the 1970s, with most of the Victorian buildings demolished and the construction of the Brutalist Central Library. Re-landscaping occurred most recently when the square was closed to the public for five years until March 2021 for remodelling as part of the Paradise scheme.

Wood Wharf

Wood Wharf is a 23 acre site in Canary Wharf, London. It is currently under construction to provide offices, residential homes and retail space. The site is next to Canary Wharf. Wood Wharf will contain 5 million square feet of space, which will include 2 million sq ft of office space, 3,330 residential homes, 3.6 hectares of public spaces, and 380,000 sq ft of shops, restaurants and space for community use. It is estimated to be completed in 2023.

Harvey Nichols Department store in London, UK

Harvey Nichols, founded in 1831, is a British luxury department store chain with a flagship store in Knightsbridge, London. It sells fashion collections for men and women, fashion accessories, beauty products, wine and food, and is owned by Hong Kong luxury goods company Dickson Concepts.

Liverpool One Shopping mall in Liverpool, England

Liverpool ONE is a shopping, residential, and leisure complex in Liverpool, England. The project involved the redevelopment of 42 acres of land in the city centre. It is a retail-led development anchored by department stores Debenhams and John Lewis, with additional elements including leisure facilities, apartments, offices, public open spaces, restaurants, and transport improvements. The completion of Liverpool ONE significantly boosted the local economy, while lifting Liverpool into the top five most popular retail destinations in the UK.

<i>Big City Plan</i>

The Big City Plan is a major development plan for the city centre of Birmingham, England.

Uptown Charlotte Place in North Carolina

Uptown Charlotte is the central business district of Charlotte, North Carolina. The area is split into four wards by the intersection of Trade and Tryon Streets, and bordered by Interstate 277 and Interstate 77. The area managed and overseen by the Charlotte Central City Partners, which is one of the three Municipal Service Districts in Charlotte. Uptown Charlotte is the largest business district in Charlotte and the Carolinas.

Swansea City Centre Human settlement in Wales

Swansea city centre in Swansea, Wales, contains the main shopping, leisure and nightlife district in Swansea. The city centre covers much of the Castle ward including the area around Oxford Street, Castle Square, and the Quadrant Shopping Centre; Alexandra Road, High Street, Wind Street and the Castle; Parc Tawe; and the Maritime Quarter extending down to the seafront.

Great Portland Estates

Great Portland Estates plc is a British property development and investment company. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. The firm switched to Real Estate Investment Trust status when REITs were introduced in the United Kingdom in January 2007.

Langham Place (Hong Kong) Building complex in Mong Kok, Hong Kong

Langham Place is a commercial complex and shopping centre in Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong. The official opening was on 25 January 2005. The complex occupies two blocks defined by Argyle Street, Portland Street, Shantung Street and Reclamation Street. Shanghai Street separates the two portions of the complex, which are connected via two overhead walkways. A hotel is on one side of the development while the commercial elements are located on the other side.

Paddington Waterside

Paddington Waterside is a developed area around Paddington Station in London.

Bridge Street Town Centre Shopping mall in Alabama, United States

Bridge Street Town Centre is a lifestyle center shopping center in Huntsville, Alabama, developed by O&S Holdings and designed by TSArchitects, both of Los Angeles. The center is located in Cummings Research Park at the intersection of Old Madison Pike, Interstate 565, and Research Park Boulevard.

The Cube, Birmingham

The Cube is a 25-storey mixed-use development in the centre of Birmingham, England. Designed by Ken Shuttleworth of Make Architects, it contains 135 flats, 111,500 square feet (10,359 m2) of offices, shops, a hotel and a 'skyline' restaurant. It is the final phase of The Mailbox development.

Three Garden Road, Central

Three Garden Road, Central, is an office building in Central, Hong Kong near Garden Road stop of the Peak Tram, completed in 1992 by the Great Eagle Group.

100 St Georges Terrace

100 St Georges Terrace is a 24-storey skyscraper located at 100 St Georges Terrace in Perth, Western Australia.

BLVD Place is a mixed-use development located in Uptown Houston, Houston, Texas, United States, encompassing 20 acres at the intersection of Post Oak Boulevard and San Felipe.

Collins Square Place in Victoria, Australia

Collins Square is one of the largest commercial developments in Australia and the largest in the Melbourne central business district of Victoria, covering an area of c. two hectares.

Victoria Square House

Victoria Square House, is an office building on the south side of Victoria Square, Birmingham, England. It was formerly Birmingham's Head Post Office, designed in the French Renaissance style by architect for the Office of Works Henry Tanner for the General Post Office.

Paradise, Birmingham

Paradise, formerly named Paradise Circus, is the name given to an area of approximately 7 hectares in Birmingham city centre between Chamberlain and Centenary Squares. The area has been part of the civic centre of Birmingham, England since the 19th century when it contained buildings such as the Town Hall, Mason Science College, Birmingham and Midland Institute buildings and Central Library. The site was redeveloped from 1960 to 1975 into the present Paradise Circus based within a roundabout on the Inner Ring Road system containing a new Central Library and School of Music. From 2015 Argent Group will redevelop the area into new mixed use buildings and public squares.


  1. "The Mailbox Address".
  2. Parsley2021-05-14T06:53:00, David. "Mailbox finally completes listing on IPSX". Property Week. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
  3. 1 2 Douglas Hickman (1970). Birmingham. Studio Vista Ltd. p. 93.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Andrew MacLaran (2003). Making Space: Property Development and Urban Planning. Oxford University Press US. p. 207. ISBN   0-340-80827-6.
  5. "Archers star Wimbush dies at 81". BBC News. 1 November 2005. Retrieved 10 November 2007.
  6. "'Shots fired' in city restaurant". BBC News. 16 February 2008. Retrieved 29 March 2008.
  7. UK Office Space News, archived from the original on 5 June 2012, retrieved 6 April 2011
  8. Harvey Nichols Birmingham Announces Store Expansion and Relocation at the Mailbox (PDF),, May 2013, archived from the original (PDF) on 7 December 2013, retrieved 3 December 2013
  9. The Mailbox Secures Luxury Cinema Brand Everyman Cinemas, Mailbox Life, November 2013, archived from the original on 4 December 2013, retrieved 3 December 2013
  10. Gas Street Social Opens at the Mailbox, Mailbox Life
  11. "M7 Real Estate acquires The Mailbox, Birmingham's premier mixed-use asset". M7 Real Estate. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
  12. "Mailbox REIT lists on IPSX". M7 Real Estate. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
  13. Parsley2021-05-14T06:53:00, David. "Mailbox finally completes listing on IPSX". Property Week. Retrieved 24 May 2021.