Bristol tech pioneer Nick Sturge to work with property firm on major new innovation hub for city

September 22, 2023

Property investment firm Mission Street has appointed Nick Sturge to advise on its plans to open the South West’s largest commercial innovation hub in Bristol.

Nick, a pivotal figure in Bristol’s tech sector for more than two decades, has joined the firm’s advisory board as it looks to redevelop 1 Temple Way, pictured, better known as the former Bristol Evening Post building.

The 145,000 sq ft scheme, known as Projekt, will ‘reimagine’ the brutalist building to accommodate a wide range of innovation uses, including wet labs, dry labs, offices and more than 7,000 sq ft of shared collaboration space.

Nick, pictured, who received an MBE in 2019 for services to the digital economy, is best known as the founding director of Bristol’s pioneering Engine Shed innovation hub.

Prior to that, he established the award-winning SETsquared Bristol start-up incubator, actively supporting the strategic development and growth of 170 companies in the biotech, fintech and wider tech sectors.

Mission Street, which acquired 1 Temple Way last year with leading, global real estate investment management advisor BentallGreenOak, said its scheme would utilise 93% of the existing building’s structure.

At the time it said it planned to create a next-generation science building of local, regional and national significance, which would help retain and attract innovative companies to Bristol.

Its location on the edge of Old Market means it will be in the heart of an area with Bristol’s highest concentration of tech, science and innovation companies and a stone’s throw from Science Creates, the city’s second deep-tech hub that opened in late 2021.

Mission said Nick’s appointment came at a time of significant activity in the Bristol ecosystem.

This includes the upcoming opening of Dyson’s new £100m research facility in the city centre, Science Creates Venture Capital closing its second deep tech fund of $100m and reaching capacity at their Old Market incubator, ARM Holding’s decision to establish a Bristol presence and construction starting on the University of Bristol’s £900m Temple Quarter Innovation Quarter

The firm said Nick would draw on his “expertise and passion” for further enhancing the region’s flourishing innovation ecosystem and advise on proposed occupiers of the next-generation scheme.

Mission Street founder and CEO Artem Korolev said: “Nick has extensive local experience in nurturing start-ups and has been a key player in helping grow Bristol into the innovation ecosystem that it is today.

“He will provide crucial experience in supporting us in delivering a scheme that can continue that momentum and facilitate the huge growth potential of cutting-edge companies within Bristol.

“Nick’s advice on our Projekt scheme will prove an invaluable resource when it comes to ensuring that the region can continue its trajectory as one of the country’s leading hubs for R&D and innovation by addressing the mismatch in high-quality lab infrastructure.”

Nick added: “Having worked for the past 18 years in supporting and growing Bristol’s innovation ecosystem, it is evident that we simply can’t scale up Bristol’s innovation start-ups and scale-ups without having the appropriate infrastructure and real estate.

“Projekt provides a uniquely flexible space where we will be able to engage corporates, SMEs, academia and other institutions to take the Bristol & Bath economy to the next level.

“Mission Street is well-known for the delivery of high-quality innovative accommodation, particularly in re-purposing.

“I’m really excited to be involved with Projekt which I believe can have a significant impact in the successful and sustainable growth of the region’s innovation ecosystem.”

Nick is also non-executive chair of techSPARK – the not-for-profit network for the tech cluster in Bristol & Bath – and has a growing portfolio of non-exec appointments.

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