The clock tower building in Harborne has been sold in an undisclosed deal after being redeveloped in the depths of the recession.

City firm EDG Property has sold the first phase of The School Yard development to asset management company Avignon Capital.

The scheme at the Grade II-listed Victorian former school, famous for its clock tower, is now fully let but EDG Property director Neil Edginton said it had been a major turnaround from when he first unveiled the scheme in a depressed property market in 2012.

He said: “It has been a really interesting project, and it has worked out as a successful development, but if you cast your mind back everyone told me I had lost my marbles when it started. We were in the deepest recession in memory and on top of that it was already a difficult building to redevelop. But it’s fully let now and there is a new public square and we are investing another £3 million in residential in the second phase.”

Work is taking place on the £2.7million second phase, made up of 12 residential apartments, after plans were drawn up by architect Bryant Priest Newman Architects.

The first phase has been let to Prezzo, Boston Tea Party, Harborne Food School and Urban Coffee Company. However, it has been tough at times with a previous incarnation of a food school and Metro Bar among those which came close to taking space.

The building was constructed in 1891 and was most recently used as an adult learning and community centre before it was sold by Birmingham City Council.

Neil added “Everyone I speak to in Harborne is delighted with The School Yard. The new residential building is a brave piece of architecture, so it might be something that some people are going to love and some aren’t. In terms of the first phase it has gone down very well.”

Eversheds represented EDG Property while Avignon was advised by Gateley and agent MK2 Real Estate.

Gateley senior associate James Madill said: “The seller plans to develop a residential scheme next to the commercial units which meant that there were certain complex issues that needed to be addressed.  We needed to ensure that there was adequate flexibility in the commercial scheme to protect investment value and maintain scope for future site enhancement.

“With historical and architectural significance to the city, the purchase ensures that the reconfigured property will benefit the local area for years to come.”

(Many thanks to Graeme Brown, Birmingham Post for words)