WATCH: Moda & Sisk top out The Mercian, marked in virtual ceremony

Moda and Sisk top out Birmingham’s tallest residential tower – The Mercian Build to Rent development, marking the occasion with a virtual ceremony.

Street level of Moda, The Mercian Build to Rent development in Birmingham - one of Sisk's key projects | BTR News
Street level of Moda, The Mercian Build to Rent development in Birmingham - one of Sisk's key projects.

Build to Rent developer and operator Moda Living and main contractor John Sisk & Son has today released a commemorative video to mark the topping out at The Mercian, Birmingham’s tallest residential tower – at 42 storeys. 

“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.” 

Tony Brooks, Managing Director, Moda Living

A step away from traditional topping out ceremonies and under the 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, 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.

“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.” 

Paul Brown, COO, UK Construction and Civil Engineering, John Sisk & Son

The video takes inspiration from the recent viral ‘pass it on’ challenge seen across social media, and acknowledges the hard work undertaken by everyone working to bring The Mercian to life. 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.  

“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.”

John Dunkerley, CEO and Co-founder, Apache Capital Partners 

The Mercian Build to Rent scheme – on track to complete in 2022 – was designed by Birmingham-based Glenn Howells Architects and delivered by Sisk. The scheme will include 481 intergenerational Build to Rent homes – a mix of studios, one, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Amenities include a 24-hour concierge, shared lounges, flexible workspaces, and a cinema room and private dining spaces for residents to hire. 

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. There will also be a host of partnerships and services from local health and wellness brands across Birmingham.  

The Mercian Build to Rent development, Birmingham - Moda Living | Sisk | BTR News
The Mercian Build to Rent development, Birmingham.

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has also 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. 

“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.” 

Andy Street, Mayor of West Midlands and Chair of WMCA

Moda recently received planning for a second neighbourhood in Birmingham, Great Charles Street, which will deliver 720 homes Build to Rent homes alongside a new public realm, mixed commercial space, and a range of market-leading amenities. 

“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.” 

John Dunkerley, CEO and Co-founder, Apache Capital Partners