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BAM finally breaks ground on CEG's Bristol scheme

8 Dec 20 Eight years after securing planning permission and more than four years after enabling works started, contractors have finally officially broken ground on one of Bristol's largest office building.

Th EQ building, previously called Aspire, has been in the works for years
Th EQ building, previously called Aspire, has been in the works for years

Commercial Estates Group (CEG) appointed BAM Construction as its preferred contractor back in 2016 for a 285,000 sq ft speculative office building at 111 Victoria Street, close to Bristol Temple Meads Station.

At that time it was described as a £100m project and was called Aspire. BAM’s contract was originally worth £50m back in 2016, it is understood.

Now the project is called EQ, has a gross internal area is now 200,00 sq ft but no financials have been shared.

The glass building has been designed by architect Aukett Swanke to provide some of the largest open plan office floor plates in Bristol of up to 27,377 sq ft.

Specialist subcontractor Van Elle is already on site preparing the foundations.

More than 500 construction jobs a year will be created during the two-year build programme. Once complete, the building will accommodate over 2,000 people across eight above-ground floors.

Neil Dorrington, construction director for Bristol-based BAM Construction, said: “This must be one of the most ambitious schemes ever constructed in Bristol, which is a tremendous testament to CEG.

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“BAM’s early and close association with the development of it over a prolonged period means we can bring our expertise in digital construction and our sustainability credentials to bear even more so than on many other schemes.”

CEG investment manager Paul Richardson said: “We are making an immediate start on site in order to be in a position to offer 200,000 sq ft of the highest quality office space ready for occupation by the first quarter of 2023.

“There is an acute shortage in supply of Grade A offices in Bristol and we’ve already seen a record number of pre let office deals in the city this year. We adopt an innovative approach to leasing, to deliver flexibility, as well as offering tenant fit outs, which reduces an occupier’s capital spend traditionally associated with a relocation.”

Luke Schuberth, UK managing director of Aukett Swanke, said: “EQ will be a first class piece of architecture that we have enjoyed being involved in creating. It is testament to a client that has clear ambition and vision and a design team that has a strength in depth and a culture of pushing innovation. It has been a joy to design EQ, to stretch the boundaries of office design with health and well-being and a sustainable ethos that is at the core. The building will increase the energy of the people within it, whilst reducing the energy required to run it.  We are delighted that it will now be realised and look forward to its completion.”

Designed as a Smart Tech enabled building, there will also be fewer touch points, increased air changes and air quality sensors.

Photocall for ground breaking
Photocall for ground breaking

Pictured above for official ground breaking are: (back row, left to right) Seonaid Butler (Cushman Wakefield), Alex Hough (CEG), Peter Bateman (Buro Happold), Paul Richardson (CEG), Luke Schuberth (Aukett Swanke) and Steve Lane (JLL); (front row, left to right) Andy Heath (Cushman Wakefield), Neil Dorrington (BAM), Marvin Rees (mayor of Bristol), Richard Thomas (CEG), Mike Powell (Arup) and Ian Wills (JLL).

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