Major science hub plan unveiled for former Bristol Post HQ as city’s deep-tech status grows

July 8, 2022

Bristol’s emerging research & development and deep-tech ecosystem is to get a boost with the opening of the largest commercial science hub in the South West.

London-based specialist mixed-use property investor, developer and operator Mission Street and BentallGreenOak, a leading, global real estate investment management advisor, have acquired 1 Temple Way in the city centre to develop the centre, which will both wet and dry laboratories along with high-spec office space. 

A joint venture formed by the firms have planning consent to convert the high-profile building, pictured, best known as the former home of the Bristol Post newspaper, into 135,000 sq ft of business space.

The scheme, pictured below, designed by international architecture practice AHMM, which has a base in Bristol, is to be developed speculatively – proof, say the firms behind it, that Bristol is now viewed as an up-and-coming location for science-based businesses.

The scheme is a stone’s throw from Science Creates, the city’s second deep-tech hub that opened last November.

It is the brainchild of Bristol-based chemist and investor Dr Harry Destecroix, who four years ago launched the first city’s first science incubator, Unit DX, in St Philips after discovering there was no home for science companies in the city.

The Mission Street/BentallGreenOak joint venture, formed in January 2021, has already been scaling in key UK R&D locations, having acquired sites in Oxford and Cambridge.

Mission Street founder and CEO Artem Korolev said: “We have been monitoring the Bristol market for the last two years and have had extensive engagement with the key stakeholders in the emerging R&D ecosystem. 

“This has demonstrated world-class academic anchors, a rapidly growing start-up environment and several proven local success stories.

“For us, it has all ingredients to continue to make Bristol a thriving hub for innovative businesses and we will continue to work with the stakeholders to accommodate and support innovative companies via a design-led purpose-built hub in the city centre.

“Our intention is to work collaboratively, diligently and at speed to create a next-generation science building of local, regional and national significance, retaining and attracting innovative companies to Bristol.”

The joint venture’s total portfolio now includes four projects which will total 500,000 sq ft once completed, with a significant pipeline of future projects.

Inventa, pictured, the first phase of its wider plans for OX2 – a new urban innovation district west of Oxford City Centre – is currently under construction to deliver a purpose-built 65,000 sq ft laboratory and office building due for completion in mid-2023. 

It said the industrial qualities of 1 Temple Way, which was built in 1974 in the Brutalist-style and highly innovative for its time, provided the large floor plates, resilient structure and floor-to-ceiling heights ideally suited for R&D use but unusual in city centre office buildings.

Its location – in what the joint venture called the heart of Bristol’s emerging tech and science district – was also key. The University of Bristol’s new Enterprise Campus, construction of which is about to start, is nearby along with Temple Meads railway station and the Temple Quarter regeneration area.

Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees said: “It’s fantastic to announce further investment into our city as we continue to grow Bristol’s reputation as a centre for cutting-edge research and technology.

“This new innovation hub will be a welcome addition to Bristol’s burgeoning tech sector and the wider area as we continue to bring new jobs and investment into our city to benefit all communities.”

BentallGreenOak managing partner Toby Phelps said there continued to be a severe shortage of supply of high-quality, purpose-built space for the growing UK life science, deep tech, and R&D sectors.

“Our partnership is focused on delivering exceptional spaces that meet the needs of the dynamic and innovative companies in the innovation sectors today with consideration for their growth aspirations well into the future,” he added.

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