Last week Bristol and Me, spoke with Gavin Bridge, executive director of Cubex.
See below Gavin’s views on the Bristol market:
“When the Courage Brewery closed in 1999 there were about 110 people working on the site covered by Finzels Reach; when we finish, there’ll be 2,500 people living or working there. We’re trying to create something vibrant: independent businesses, not chains, and not a coffee shop theme park – you can see the great success at Wapping Wharf with that kind of thing. We want the right occupiers, rather than the highest rents. Companies involved so far include Left Handed Giant Brewing Co, the team behind Casamia and Spicer+Cole.
You walk along what were effectively medieval streets, hopefully without people throwing out soil on your head! On one plot we’ve got a concept called build-to-rent, which is all about service – if you go out for work and a washer needs fitting, by the time you come home it’s done. People working from home have space to work alongside other residents, there’s a rooftop terrace, clubs, an active residents’ manager – interaction makes things more vibrant. Security of tenancy is very important, so we’re working with Grainger – 50% of their leases are over three years.
I’d like to see Bristol embracing modern architecture, with quality developments in the suburbs as well as the centre. We’re quite a conservative city, we don’t like change; I’d encourage us to be more bold. The planning application will be submitted next month on developing the Avon Fire & Rescue Service HQ. There’ll be more than 10,000m2 of office space and circa 300 apartments, including 20% affordable housing. It’s really important we offer a range of housing at different price levels and tenure.
The industry has an obligation to do something directly around homelessness; we’re uniquely placed to help. In Bedminster we’re working with partners on East Street Mews, transforming a dilapidated property into 11 apartments for young homeless people. We’ve so far pooled about 1,500 pro bono hours on what will be a £1m project. Property development gets a poor press – not providing affordable housing, cutting down trees, etc – but we’re not all the same.
First published in Bristol Property Live in January 2019.
For more information on Cubex’s amazing East Street Mews project, see here.