Work starts on the largest committed speculative office development in Bristol region

EQ Bristol

Bristol-based BAM Construction has been appointed by CEG (formerly Commercial Estates Management) to build the striking glass building at 111 Victoria Street, close to Bristol Temple Meads Station.

Named EQ, the building will provide 20,000 sq ft of amenities such as a rooftop bar, restaurant and business lounge with communal terrace, ground floor café kitchen, 50 seat auditorium, as well as a fitness suite and break out space.

In a first for Bristol, a dedicated bicycle entrance and ramp from Temple Street to the basement provides easy access to more than 260 cycle spaces. Health club-quality changing and shower facilities are also provided. This gives cyclists priority on accessing the building, something which will prove even more important post Covid.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “As we face severe recession, contraction to Bristol’s economy and employment losses, news of such a major sustainable investment to bring job opportunities and social value to our city is hugely positive and welcome.

“Working with city partners to achieve Bristol’s potential, our economic renewal should be focused on tackling inequality and building a fair, healthy and sustainable city. This type of sustainable development will help us build back better together.’’

The building will provide some of the largest open plan office floor plates in Bristol of up to 27,377 sq ft.

More than 500 construction jobs will be created each year during the two-year build programme, as well as six local apprenticeship opportunities. Once complete, the building will accommodate more than 2,000 people and is predicted to  deliver £466 million GVA per annum from direct and indirect operational jobs.

Paul Richardson, investment manager at CEG, said: “We are making an immediate start on site in order to be in a position to offer 200,000 sq ft of the highest quality office space ready for occupation by the first quarter of 2023.

“There is an acute shortage in supply of Grade A offices in Bristol and we’ve already seen a record number of pre let office deals in the city this year. We adopt an innovative approach to leasing, to deliver flexibility, as well as offering tenant fit outs, which reduces an occupier’s capital spend traditionally associated with a relocation.”

Neil Dorrington, construction director for Bristol-based BAM Construction, said: “This must be one of the most ambitious schemes ever constructed in Bristol, which is a tremendous testament to CEG.

“BAM’s early and close association with the development of it over a prolonged period means we can bring our expertise in digital construction and our sustainability credentials to bear even more so than on many other schemes. Our time on site means we can also achieve great social value for the city.”

The building has been designed by architects Aukett Swanke.

Luke Schuberth, UK managing director of Aukett Swanke, said: “It has been a joy to design EQ, to stretch the boundaries of office design with health and well-being and a sustainable ethos that is at the core.”

Designed as a Smart Tech enabled building, there will also be fewer touch points, increased air changes and air quality sensors, benefitting occupiers in a post-Covid world.

The scale, quality and flexibility offered by the building, as well as its strategic location close to Temple Meads, opens up significant opportunities for new inward investing companies keen to access the south west market.

JLL and Cushman and Wakefield have been appointed by CEG to launch the building to market.

Ian Wills of JLL, said: “Living costs have rocketed in London and skilled staff are finding it too expensive and over-crowded. Employers are looking elsewhere and Bristol has always appealed; just 80 minutes from the heart of London, it offers a large skilled workforce and great quality of life which help to attract and retain employees.

“CEG with a long term investment and management approach  is also able to offer a unique Core and Flex model which allows a business to expand and contract within the space. This will help to manage company growth and additional projects, as well as seasonal demand and the effects that social distancing will have on their office requirements.”

Andy Heath of Cushman and Wakefield added: “We are confident we will secure a pre-let, not just due to the high market demand in Bristol, but because this offers a workspace that is sustainable, efficient, flexible, healthy, digitally resilient and future-proofed – it will set a new benchmark for regional offices.”

CEG has one of the largest office development pipelines in Bristol, offering some 400,000 sq ft in its local portfolio at The Quorum, The Crescent Centre, 1000 Aztec West and EQ.