The Birmingham Post has reported that Microsoft subsidiary Rare is to take up office space at Digbeth’s Fazeley Studios.
The new site is a half hour drive from the developer’s current headquarters in Twycross, but no reason was given for the move or the choice of location. The site appears to have been chosen and negotiated by Microsoft.
Usually such a move spells job cuts, but at the time of writing Rare is hiring
for programmers, artists and interns among other positions, so it could just as likely be an expansion. It's not said whether the developer will be completely moving out of Twycross and into the Digbeth office once the deal is finalised.
An insider told the Birmingham Post
, “We’ve been working on this for seven or eight months. It’s a very big deal and one of many more developments to come,” but it is unclear from the context if the insider is referring to the Fazeley Studios negotiation or the hinted Natal developments.
“Fazeley Studios occupies a 150-year old converted Unitarian chapel and adjoining Sunday School buildings as well as extensive former factory buildings converted to light and spacious studios,” the Post details.
Apparently in the space of a year, all the available office units have been snapped up by local and national companies, with Microsoft taking the last ones. The move is said to rejuvenate the Digbeth area as a “key part of Birmingham’s digital economy”, with the City Council cabinet member for leisure, sport and culture Martin Mullaney calling the news “awesome.” We wish all council members were as hip as Martin.
SPOnG has contacted Microsoft for comment on the reasons for the potential move, but did not respond when we went to press. We will keep you informed of any statements made by the company on the matter.