Construction work has started on a huge glass-fronted office block in Bristol city centre.
The 200,000 sq ft development – known as EQ – is the largest speculative office currently being built in the south of England, according to owner CEG.
The building is being constructed by Bristol-based BAM Construction and is expected to open in the first quarter of 2023.
According to CEG, more than 500 construction jobs will be created each year during the two-year build programme as well as six local apprenticeship opportunities.
The property investment firm said when the building is finished, it will be able to house more 2,000 people and will deliver £466million GVA a year from direct and indirect operational jobs.
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.”
The property will have some of the largest open-plan office spaces in Bristol (up to 27,377 sq ft) as well as fully-equipped internet-ready workstations for businesses.
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.”
Architect Aukett Swanke designed EQ, with a focus on sustainability, amenity, health and wellbeing.
The building will have a rooftop bar, restaurant and business lounge with communal terrace, ground-floor café kitchen, 50-seat auditorium, fitness suite and break-out space.
It will also have a dedicated bicycle entrance and ramp from Temple Street to the basement, with more than 260 cycle spaces.
The building is also targeting a BREEAM Outstanding accreditation and will have photovoltaic units on the roof, rainwater harvesting, electric vehicle and e-bike charging points, and will be connected to Bristol City Council’s District Heating Network.
Luke Schuberth, UK managing director of Aukett Swanke, said: “The building will increase the energy of the people within it, whilst reducing the energy required to run it. We are delighted that it will now be realised and look forward to its completion.”
Neil Dorrington, construction director for BAM Construction, added: “This must be one of the most ambitious schemes ever constructed in Bristol, which is a tremendous testament to CEG.”
Real estate company Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) and commercial property firm Cushman and Wakefield have been appointed by CEG to launch the building to market.
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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.”
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.”