Bristol developer Cubex is starting construction work on the next phase of its Finzels Reach development in Bristol city centre.
Demolition work is now underway to carefully remove the existing vacant buildings that previously housed Avon Fire and Rescue headquarters and prepare the ground for construction.
Work is starting just weeks after Bristol City Council gave planning permission for the next phase of the much-praised and thriving new neighbourhood, initially created out of a derelict, brownfield, city centre site on Bristol’s harbourside.
Home to a balanced, mixed community, there are already thousands of people living, socialising and working at Finzels Reach. With hundreds of new homes and workspace for the likes of Channel 4, Historic England, Simmons & Simmons, Barclays and Bafta-winning BDH, it is also a fast-emerging social hotspot, with a host of independent bars, restaurants and leisure operators choosing the emerging city quarter for their new premises.
Cubex has awarded the demolition contracts to Bedminster-based family firm Wring Group. Work being undertaken includes bat surveys, testing for ground pollution and unexploded World War II ordnance, removal of asbestos and identifying any archaeological remains discovered during the work.
Expected to take around six months to complete, it has been planned to minimise any disturbance to neighbouring occupiers.
Excavation work will also be starting next year to create the basement level for the Halo office building, to accommodate space for cycle and car parking, parcel deliveries, electric car and bike charge points, showers and changing rooms. Work on the superstructure will then follow, with construction work set to complete at the end of 2021.
The leading-edge new Halo office building, which is being built speculatively before tenants are secured, will provide space for around 1,100 staff. It is designed to set new standards of sustainability, well-being and digital connectivity for offices in Bristol, following the successful approach taken by Cubex with Aurora, in the first phase of Finzels Reach.
Gavin Bridge, executive director at Cubex, says: “We’ve been working closely with Bristol City Council over the past few weeks, since planning consent was granted, to tie up the last few details on the Section 106 agreement. As part of our agreement, we will be putting in new protected cycle lanes, planting trees, widening pavements, and installing a new zebra crossing on Counterslip near to St. Philips Bridge. We will also be contributing over £1M to fund further improvements in the local area and I hope much of this will be spent in Castle Park.
“We have a track record of getting on with development. I’m therefore very pleased that we’ve been able to get planning consent within 13 months of buying the site and are starting construction work just after this agreement has been signed, demonstrating our commitment to making regeneration happen in Bristol.”
In September 2019, planning consent was granted to transform the former Avon Fire and Rescue headquarters site into around 300 homes, cutting-edge sustainable offices to support Bristol’s growing economy and £2.4m of improvements to the area around the site. These include new landscaping, traffic management, pedestrian and cycle routes which will help make the area more attractive area and foster a strong sense of community.
Fund manager Palmer Capital (Fiera Real Estate) has provided the finance for Cubex on its plans for the next phase of Finzels Reach, following their successful partnership on the first phase across the road.
Cubex bought the former fire station site in summer 2018 on behalf of Palmer Capital Development Fund IV (PCDFIV), a programmatic venture by Palmer Capital (Fiera Real Estate) that is exclusive to clients of CBRE Global Investment Partners (CBRE GIP). Palmer Capital is rebranding to Fiera Real Estate in January 2020.
By the end of this year, 2,500 people will live or work at Finzels Reach. The plans for phase two of Finzels Reach will increase that total to 3,300 people, with an investment value of £400M in total.