Halo, set to be one of UK’s greenest office buildings, forward funded for £70m

CGI of Halo Office Building on Former Fire Station Site at Finzels Reach, Bristol

Fiera Real Estate and Cubex have forward funded their Halo office building to Tesco Pension Investment, for nearly £70 million. The innovative 116,000 sq ft, Grade A office is currently under construction and is part of Finzels Reach, a growing city centre quarter widely acknowledged as one of Bristol’s most successful regeneration projects.

Halo is set to be one of the greenest office buildings in the UK, with the developers targeting a BREEAM Outstanding accreditation to meet the toughest new sustainability assessment criteria. In addition to its stand-out environmental credentials, the future-focused building will also feature leading edge digital connectivity – recognised with the highest ‘Wired’ Platinum score – and is being designed to prioritise the well-being of its occupants.

In February, international legal firm Osborne Clarke agreed to take nearly two thirds of Halo – 74,000 sq ft – in a pre-let deal, two years ahead of completion. The firm will relocate 600 staff from its Temple Quay office into the leading-edge, smart workspace at Halo, taking the top five floors including a private roof terrace. Three remaining floors, of circa 42,000 sq ft are available to let through letting agents Knight Frank and Lambert Smith Hampton.

Halo’s modern design features a unique corkscrew-like staircase rising up through a glass atrium, with highly efficient LED lighting, roof-top mounted photovoltaic panels – and even a drone landing pad. With its focus on employee wellbeing, key features will include outdoor space on the rooftop, a bike park and glazed façade to maximise views and daylight.
Commenting on the deal, Peter Walford, director at Cubex, said: “This is a very significant office investment deal for Bristol, particularly in the current economic climate, and reflects not only the quality of the building we are developing but the strength of interest in the city.

“This is the fifth Grade A office building that we’ve developed in this area of Bristol and with each, we aim to raise the bar in terms of both design and innovation, an approach which has been rewarded by the quality of the tenants and investors we have been able to attract.”

Bristol developer Cubex bought the former Avon Fire and Rescue site, which will be home to Halo, in 2018 on behalf of Fiera Real Estate Opportunity Fund IV (UK), a programmatic venture by Fiera Real Estate that is exclusive to clients of CBRE Global Investment Partners (CBRE GIP).

Chris Button, Fund Manager at Fiera Real Estate, commented: “The sale has provided our underlying investors with an attractive risk adjusted return and allows us to recycle equity to be redeployed during the remainder of 2020. Our central investment thesis is to create best in class buildings that are of high quality whilst offering flexible and productive space suitable for the modern day occupier – which is even more relevant in the current environment.” 

CBRE represented Cubex and Fiera in the deal with Savills acting on behalf of Tesco.

In September 2019, planning consent was granted to transform the former Avon Fire and Rescue headquarters site into around 300 homes and cutting-edge sustainable offices to support Bristol’s growing economy, alongside £2.4m of 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.

Leading organisations such as Channel 4, Historic England and English Heritage, Simmons & Simmons, Barclays, EDF and Bafta-winning BDH have already made their base at Finzels Reach. This growing neighbourhood, with hundreds of new homes, a hotel, and workspace, is also a fast-emerging social hotspot, home to Finzels Reach Market, Left Handed Giant, Mission Pizza, Pacific Yoga, Café Matariki, Spicer + Cole, Bocabar and Le Vignoble. When complete, 3,300 people will live or work at Finzels Reach and the development will have a total investment value of £400 million.