Moda Living, the UK’s fastest growing developer and operator of homes for rent, and main contractor John Sisk & Son today released a commemorative video to mark the topping out at The Mercian, Birmingham’s tallest residential tower.
In a step away from traditional topping out ceremonies and under the limitations of the current lockdown restrictions, the milestone was marked virtually. Teams from Moda, its investment partner Apache Capital, and Sisk, from apprentices to directors, were joined by sub-contractors Morrisroe, Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, Glenn Howells Architects, and some other familiar faces from across the city, in a video, passing a hard hat from frame to frame, before eventually making its way to The Mercian’s rooftop, where the final pour took place.
In addition to the passing of the hard hat from frame to frame, the video also shows five ceremonial mementos used historically to mark the topping out of a development to ward off any evil spirits “trapped” in the building when the envelope was sealed. The five items – wine, salt, oil, corn, and yew-tree sprigs – each are said to bring prosperity and good fortune to the building and its residents.
The video, which takes inspiration from the recent viral ‘pass it on’ challenge seen across social media, acknowledges the hard work undertaken by everyone working to bring The Mercian to life, despite lockdowns and restrictions. As Birmingham’s tallest residential tower, The Mercian will be a local landmark that knits itself into the fabric of the city as a destination the local population can be proud of.
Designed by Birmingham-based Glenn Howells Architects and delivered by Sisk, The Mercian will be home to 481 intergenerational apartments for rent, ranging from studios to three-beds, with a raft of unparalleled amenities, including 24-hour concierge, shared lounges, flexible workspaces and a cinema room and private dining spaces for residents to hire.
On track to complete in 2022, The Mercian will also provide residents with quality health and wellness zones, including a 200m podium open-air running track on the roof and high-spec residents’ gym, as well as a host of partnerships and services from local health and wellness brands across Birmingham.
In addition, the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has funded a training hub during the construction of The Mercian, creating 140 job opportunities for locals and equipping them with valuable skills for their future careers by offering construction training and a guaranteed job interview after completing a 20-day course.
Moda recently received planning a second neighbourhood in Birmingham, Great Charles Street, which will deliver 720 homes for rent alongside new public realm, mixed commercial space, and a range of market-leading amenities.
Tony Brooks, Managing Director at Moda Living said: “Marking this milestone at The Mercian is testament to the fantastic teams that are part of the DNA at Moda and Sisk, who have worked tirelessly, and always with our workers safety at the forefront to keep the site open and on track, even during uncertain times. It’s been exciting to see the building take shape and become a landmark on Birmingham’s skyline. It reflects the ambition and resilience we have come to expect from the people of this city, and we can’t wait to open to doors to Birmingham’s first Next Generation Neighbourhood.”
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “The Mercian will not only transform living and renting in our city when it opens, but it has also played a huge part in training the region’s next generation of construction workers through the on-site training hub. We know the coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on our region, and training people in the skills needed for the jobs of the future is vital to our economic recovery. Being able to use such a big development to provide free training to local people is a reflection of the great teams behind The Mercian and the impact it will have on our city once the doors are open. I’m looking forward to seeing what else Moda and Sisk bring to our region in future years.”
Paul Brown, COO, UK Construction and Civil Engineering, John Sisk & Son, said: “Sisk is delighted to achieve topping out The Mercian, against the backdrop of Covid-19 this is an extra special milestone. To reach this stage has required a massive amount of effort from everybody involved, we would like to thank all of our team and supply chain partners in The Midlands for their dedication and commitment so far. We look forward to building on our positive relationships with Moda Living to complete The Mercian in 2022 and WMCA at our on-site training hub, to continue providing employment and training opportunities for local people in Birmingham.”
John Dunkerley, CEO and co-founder of Apache Capital Partners said: “The topping out of The Mercian marks an important milestone in the delivery of our build-to-rent pipeline with Moda Living. It is thanks to the hard work of Sisk and their supply chain partners that we have been able to celebrate this occasion. As Europe’s youngest large city and with a growing number of top-tier employers from both the private and public sector, Birmingham offers compelling investment fundamentals and we are excited to be bringing forward not one but two schemes in the city.”
Watch the Mercian Topping Out “Pass it On” video