Construction has begun of the £12m office development Honeybourne Place, which is the first new build office space in Cheltenham for many years and will bring up to 500 jobs to the town.
The town’s MP Alex Chalk, Cheltenham Borough Council leader Councillor Steve Jordan and Cheltenham Development Task Force managing director Jeremy Williamson were among guests who yesterday attended a groundbreaking ceremony at the site on Jessop Avenue.
A Formal Investments project, Honeybourne Place is a major new addition to Cheltenham’s Business Quarter. Its 64,000 square feet of Grade A office space has been pre-let to a single occupier.
The first phase of construction will see the core building passed to the occupier, a global business whose identity is not yet disclosed, for a fit out to its specification ahead of occupying the offices in 2019.
Nicholas King, managing director at Formal Investments, said: “For everyone involved in the future commercial vitality of Cheltenham this is an exciting milestone as we get the construction of Honeybourne Place under way.
“This landmark building will help deliver economic growth and bring further major inward investment to a location that has cemented itself as a key business district for Cheltenham.”
The striking building is designed by Gloucester based architects Roberts Limbrick and the construction project is being managed by Gleeds with the lead contractor Barnwood Construction. Honeybourne Place will feature full height glazing, dramatic external lighting and commanding views across the town centre.
Honeybourne Place will complete the redevelopment of the former St James railway station site which closed to passenger trains in 1966. The most recent development on this site was the Waitrose store which opened in 2002.
Nicholas King said: “We have a track record of bringing innovation to our projects which enhance their immediate locations and their wider communities. Honeybourne Place is no exception.
“This development will see a fenced off, temporary car park turned into an aesthetically pleasing modern building with landscaped areas opening on to an upgraded pedestrian plaza.
“It will not only contribute to the economy of Cheltenham and increase the demand for local business services but it will also make the area a more vibrant and social part of town.”
The construction of Honeybourne Place will use an innovative piling method called continuous helical displacement (CHD) piling which compacts the soil as it drills down rather than bringing spoil up to the surface.
The firmer ground around the hole enables a shorter pile requiring less concrete. Both impacts positively reduce the number of lorry movements and the process is very quick – the hole is drilled and filled with concrete and a metal reinforcing cage all within six minutes.
Formal Investments is currently in the final phase of a total refurbishment of Formal House in St George’s Place, Cheltenham, and has recently been granted planning permission for a visionary scheme on a 110 acre London site near Heathrow.