Hong Kong investors to turn Cadbury's Birmingham HQ into flats

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 October, 2014, 3:18am
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 October, 2014, 3:18am

It was once the headquarters of the Cadbury confectionery company in England, the place where the famous Milk Tray brand of chocolates, among others, was said to have been invented.

Now a consortium of Hong Kong and Macau investors is investing £16m (HK$199 million) to turn into an apartment complex.

Hong Kong-based Headland Developments and Birmingham-based Court Collaboration have formed a joint venture representing the investors to convert the 74,000 sq ft Franklin House in Birmingham into 96 one- and two-bedroom flats.

"The building is in an excellent location and we aim to develop it into quality properties affordable for first-time buyers, not out of the reaches of the mass market," Headland managing director John Gunning told the South China Morning Post. Headland had five to six projects in the pipeline in Birmingham and surrounding areas and hoped to raise US$50 million to US$100 million in equity within next year, Gunning said.

Cadbury was one of the original 19th century builders of "model communities" that gave British workers better-quality living conditions compared with what was available at the time.

The investment follows two similar ones in one of Britain's largest cities as Chinese investors look beyond London.

In February, a consortium of Chinese investors, said to be factory owners from Hangzhou , Zhejiang province, bought 130 Colmore Row, a historic-listed building in Birmingham for several million pounds, the Birmingham Post reported. Last November another group of Chinese investors spent £7 million on Quayside Tower, a landmark Birmingham office block.