News: February 2020

Cubex, Bristol’s award-winning property developer and urban regenerator, has secured a major investment deal for its sustainable landmark office building at Finzels Reach as construction works get into full swing.

Tesco Pension Investment have paid nearly £70 million in a forward funding deal with Cubex and its initial funding partner, Fiera Real Estate. Cubex, which focuses on creating sustainable workplaces and low carbon communities, has now appointed Willmott Dixon as main contractor of this innovative 116,000 sq ft, Grade A office building, which can cater for around 1,000 staff. Construction works are now well underway with the building currently scheduled for completion in spring 2022.

Willmott Dixon’s appointment follows a very successful relationship with Cubex on the 95,000 sq ft Aurora office building and 200 home Hawkins & George residential scheme on Finzels Reach last year, 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 from the property sector 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.” 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 and achieving a ‘best in class’ Platinum Cycling Score rating. 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. It is also being designed to prioritise the well-being of its occupants and to be one of the first buildings in the UK to achieve WELL Building certification.

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 joint 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 current Bristol office market, Martin Booth, a partner in the Bristol office of Knight Frank, explains: “Despite the challenging market conditions and economic uncertainty, there is still pent up demand for high quality future-focused office space in Bristol. Even with working practices changing as a result of Covid-19 and predictions of staff spending less time in the office, employers will still need space where they can bring people together to work collaboratively and meet clients. “Cubex is the only developer in Bristol to be delivering a building of this calibre into the market in early 2022 and we expect strong interest in the remaining three floors at Halo.”

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 joint venture by Fiera Real Estate that is exclusive to clients of CBRE Global Investment Partners (CBRE GIP). CBRE represented Cubex & Fiera in the forward funding deal on Halo, 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.