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Cubex welcomes green light for next phase of Finzels Reach

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Bristol City Council grants planning consent for local developer’s plans for former fire station headquarters site in Bristol.

Local developers Cubex have welcomed the decision by Bristol City Council’s planning committee yesterday to approve their plans for a balanced mixed-use scheme to regenerate the former fire station headquarters site in the heart of the city centre.

The plans have been designed to help to meet the pressing need for housing in the city centre, support Bristol’s growing economy and uplift the whole area. They form the next phase of the much-praised Finzels Reach, a new thriving neighbourhood already created out of a derelict, brownfield, city centre site on Bristol’s harbourside.

The scheme includes 297 homes, including 231 build-to-rent apartments and over 20% affordable homes , a cutting-edge sustainable office for 1100 staff to support Bristol’s growing economy and £2.4m investment in improvements to the area around the site. These include new landscaping, traffic management, pedestrian and cycle routes which will help make the area more attractive area and foster a strong sense of community.

Now the green light has been given by planners, work is set to start this autumn on demolishing the existing vacant buildings, making way for a dramatic £140m transformation of this neglected site.

Gavin Bridge, executive director at Cubex, says:
“We’re extremely pleased with Bristol City Council’s decision and have worked very hard over the past two years with our team to produce a set of high quality designs that delivers real benefits for Bristol – much-needed homes, including over 20% affordable which is in line with the Council’s policy and new leading-edge office space to support our economy and attract and retain the very best businesses. We’ll also be making a major investment into the area surrounding the site to make it much more attractive place for people to spend time and to connect it much better with its surroundings.

“Our priority is to create balanced communities and an environment that makes a positive difference to people’s lives. We have been hugely encouraged by the success of Finzels Reach so far and we’ve continued to prioritise sustainability, wellbeing and digital connectivity in each of our buildings to ensure they meet the needs of the local community and wider city into the future.

“We recognise that major change in an area which has only had sparse low-level buildings for many years has been challenging for some people but there is a widespread recognition that with growing city populations, we have to build more densely in the limited spaces available in central areas if we are to deliver the homes and workspace a place like Bristol needs.”

Cubex has been funded by Palmer Capital on its plans for the next phase of Finzels Reach, following their successful partnership on the first phase. Palmer Capital are a UK focused real estate investment management company, which is 80% owned by Fiera Real Estate, Fiera Capital Corporation’s dedicated real estate investment platform and part of Fiera Capital’s alternative asset offerings.

The Cubex team that have worked to develop the successful plans for phase two include architects Bush Consultancy and Assael Architecture, engineers Arup and planning consultancy Avison Young.

Cubex has already agreed deals with specialist operator Grainger and with housing association Yarlington Housing Group, to buy and operate the build-to-rent and affordable homes, respectively, on the mixed-use scheme. The Section 106 agreement, which covers additional improvements to infrastructure and the local community facilities to be funded by the development, has been agreed with council planning officers. Funding is in place for the speculative office building from investment partner Palmer Capital and the Bristol based family run company Wring Group have been lined up to start the demolition.

Finzels Reach is now home to a mixed, balanced community, with new homes, workspace for the likes of Channel 4, Historic England, Simmons & Simmons, Barclays, EDF and Bafta-winning BDH. It is also a fast-emerging social hotspot, with the likes of Left Handed Giant, Mission Pizza, Pacific Yoga, Café Matiriki, Spicer & Cole, and the soon-to-open Bocabar and Le Vignoble, together with the striking new Castle Bridge linking this historic area to Castle Park.

Cubex bought the former fire station site on behalf of Palmer Capital Development Fund IV (PCDFIV), a programmatic venture by Palmer Capital that is exclusive to clients of CBRE Global Investment Partners (CBRE GIP).

By the end of the year, 2,500 people will live or work at Finzels Reach. The plans for phase two of Finzels Reach will increase that total to 3,300 people, with an investment value of £400M in total.

Originally posted in Property Week September 2019.