Bristol developer Cubex has drawn up plans to transform the former headquarters site of Avon Fire and Rescue in Bristol city centre into new homes and offices, forming the next phase of the highly successful Finzels Reach quarter.
The public is invited to give their feedback on the plans via a consultation launching next week before they are submitted to Bristol City Council in the new year.
The £140 million mixed-use scheme planned for the site comprises a 150,000 sq ft contemporary office building, featuring a unique corkscrew staircase rising up through a glass atrium to a rooftop terrace.
The building will be built speculatively, in other words prior to having tenants on board, and will reflect similar design principles to Aurora, the 95,000 sq ft Grade A office building that completed at Finzels Reach earlier this year and is widely recognised for its outstanding environmental and digital connectivity credentials. It will be designed for either a single occupier or a range of occupiers to let on a floor by floor basis.
The office building will be delivered alongside over 300 homes specially designed for the rental market. They will be laid out in a range of apartment buildings of varying heights, from seven through to 16 storeys. An eye-catching entrance has been carefully designed at the corner of Counterslip and Temple Back, looking towards the Grade II listed Generator Building, giving it a sense of place and identity.
The apartments also include a rooftop terrace and shared entertainment space along with extensive cycle storage and maintenance facilities. The apartment buildings will also feature co-working space at ground floor level for the increasing number of people working independently or running their own business.
Apartment buildings specifically designed for rent are known as build-to-rent in the UK, or multifamily in the US, where this type of communal living is very popular for renters with a community ethos in mind. The homes are professionally managed, with an on-site maintenance team, concierge and a strong emphasis on community with areas designed in the apartment block specifically for socialising, working from home, events or community activities.
Cubex is committed to the delivery of a scheme with 20 per cent affordable homes. The plans also include improvements to Temple Street, Counterslip and Temple Back including improved cycle and pedestrian routes, new trees and soft landscaping.
The creation of the first phase of Finzels Reach on Bristol’s famous Floating Harbour has breathed new life into the medieval heart of the city, with the former brewery and sugar refinery site now home to a flourishing new neighbourhood. The re-development of the former Avon Fire headquarters site, located on the other side of Counterslip, opposite the existing Finzels Reach site, will continue the regeneration of this city centre area.
Cubex, which has a strong track record in mixed-use development in the South West, bought the site, with its funding partner Palmer Capital, earlier this year. Together with the plans to redevelop the former fire station site, the Finzels Reach development will represent over £400 million of investment in the area.
Gavin Bridge, executive director at Cubex, said:
“This year has been pivotal for Finzels Reach as it’s really come into its own with more residents and businesses moving in, the hotel opening, as well as the lively food market every Friday becoming an established part of the Bristol streetfood scene.
The acquisition of the Avon Fire HQ site allows the placemaking journey to continue, to deliver more much-needed homes and workspace for the city through carefully considered design, and, importantly, a mixture of types of housing including build-to-rent and affordable to create a balanced community, complementing the range of homes within the wider Finzels Reach neighbourhood.”
Cubex started regeneration work at Finzels Reach just over five years ago when the team stepped in to develop the site after a previous attempt went into receivership. The first phase of Finzels Reach is almost complete and is already home to high quality homes, modern sustainable office space and a 168-bedroom Premier Inn hotel, with a micro-brewery, further cafes and restaurant in the pipeline.
Left Handed Giant’s cutting-edge brewery and brewpub, a new restaurant by Peter Sanchez-Iglesias of Michelin Star restaurant Casamia, and a new café by Spicer & Cole are all set to open next year. The area is also home to a popular weekly street food market.
Avon Fire and Rescue Service consolidated its activities by building a new Temple Fire Station on part of its existing site and moving to shared headquarters with the police in North Somerset, creating a sizeable and sought-after development plot.
Work on the redevelopment of the former Avon Fire and Rescue site is likely to start in the summer of 2019, subject to planning approval.
For more information about Finzels Reach, click here.