Island House is situated in a prominent position at the west end of Fazeley Street at its junction with Albert Street. It is a prominent landmark and a fine Classical style building, described by Andy Foster in the Pevsner Architectural Series volume ‘Birmingham’ (2005) on p190 as “of 1912-13 by G. E. Pepper. Mannerist, e.g. the reversed orders on the corner entrance: Ionic below, then Doric, then Tuscan.” Island House was built as offices and warehousing for Churchill & Co, and has parallels in other commercial and industrial buildings designed by Pepper, of which 75 Vyse Street in the Jewellery Quarter, constructed in 1909, is now listed by English Heritage at grade II.
Island House is locally listed. This means it is recognised by the City Council as having architectural or historic interest, but not enough to be statutorily listed at a national level. There is a convention that a Grade A locally listed building, if threatened with demolition, can often be added to the statutory list, but Island House is only Grade B. A locally listed building enjoys no special protection, but its listed status should be taken into consideration by the Planning Committee when considering planning applications.
After the Eastside designation by the Labour administration in around 1999, a lot of demolition took place around Island House in conjunction with the demolition of the elevated Inner Ring Road. Eastside was parcelled up into big redevelopment sites. Island House was part of a site labelled City Park Gate, along Moor Street from Masshouse to Moor Street Station, for whom the developers were originally, I think, Countryside Quintain. Richard Rogers made an earlier scheme, but in 2006 the architects Make made a very good masterplan, one of whose successes was the intelligent way in which it integrated Island House and the Fox and Grapes into the new development. This masterplan gained outline planning permission, and the Section 111 agreement to retain and refurbish Island House is part of this approval (2006/07395/PA). Quintain have now submitted a Deed of Variation by which they seek to relieve themselves of this obligation. This is currently out for public consultation until 6th February (2012/00182/PA).
The hotel which is currently under construction on Moor Street is the only part of the Make masterplan to be constructed. The announcement of the intended HS2 early in 2010 meant that the development could not be completed, as the new station cut across it. BCC commissioned a new masterplan from Glenn Howells Architects, to show how the new station could be related to other adjacent developments. This was published for public consultation in December 2011 (open until 23rd March; www.birmingham.gov.uk/eastsidemasterplan).
The masterplan does not show Island House, or refer to it. Plans in the document are small scale and diagrammatic (the station has not yet been fully designed, after all), but it appears that the site of Island House does not actually impinge on the footprint of the station. It comes close, but could be integrated into the development, just as it was in the 2006 masterplan.