Spotlight: Sir Robert McAlpine in the Midlands

Unity is proud to be made up of three partners that are committed to delivering innovative projects that give back to communities. Our partner, Sir Robert McAlpine, are delivering two prime examples of outstanding work in the Midlands that are both investing in local communities and developing ‘world-firsts’ – One Centenary Way in Birmingham and Air One in Coventry.

One Centenary Way, Birmingham

One Centenary Way is a major new landmark in the heart of Birmingham city centre and part of the city’s new and rapidly expanding commercial core Paradise Birmingham. The £1.2 billion project ‘topped out’ on the 68 metre tall building’s thirteenth floor in April 2022 and was led by development and construction teams MEPC and Sir Robert McAlpine.

This state-of-the-art building is unique in its look due to its ground-breaking steel exoskeleton. This innovative exoskeleton enables the building to straddle the A38 Queensway tunnel, that runs directly beneath the site, enabling it to remain open throughout the construction period and therefore minimise disruption to city road users. In addition to boasting 280,000 sq ft of office, leisure, bar and restaurant space upon completion, the basement of the building will feature Birmingham’s first dedicated cycle hub with space for up to 400 bikes, showers, storage and maintenance facilities, all available to the public as well as Paradise occupiers. The building is also highly sustainable due to a pure electric heating and hot water supply system and SMART access to services, information and facilities.

Ian Cheung, Managing Director Southern, Sir Robert McAlpine stated that “some buildings are exciting from the get-go, and this has definitely been the case with One Centenary Way. From the first piling activity to the huge structural foundations required which included the largest trusses ever seen for a commercial building in Birmingham, we’ve been passionate about this building from day one.”

Air One, Coventry 

Another example of Sir Robert McAlpine’s innovative delivery includes their involvement in the construction of Urban-Air Port Ltd (UAP)’s Air One in Coventry, the world’s first fully-operational hub for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. The project aims to cut congestion and air pollution from passenger and cargo transport and create a Zero-Emission-Mobility ecosystem.

Ian Cheung, Managing Director Southern, Sir Robert McAlpine stated that “this [Air One] exciting project contributes to a greener future by introducing innovative means of transport and solutions to address climate change and it also presents an excellent opportunity for Sir Robert McAlpine to involve the local schools and workforce and deliver some measurable social value in the region.”

This further highlights the organisations commitment to giving back and supporting the local communities where they work, ensuring that they not only deliver state-of-the-art buildings and facilities, but also provide STEM and social value support for schools and local people across the Midlands.