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MEPC’s Bristol city centre office scheme given green light

Press
23 November 2022
Work on the revitalisation of St Mary le Port in Bristol’s historic city centre will go-ahead after the government decided not to ‘call in’ the plans.

MEPC’s proposals, which were approved by Bristol City Council’s planning committee last year, will create around 340,000-sq-ft of new best-in-class office space across three buildings. The temporary construction employment is estimated to amount to 600 net additional jobs per annum and the proposal is estimated to generate between 2,450 and 2,570 net additional jobs for residents of Bristol.

Designed by award-winning architects, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and landscape architects Grant Associates, the plans include new independent retailers, cafés, restaurants, and bars; and will fund the repair and re-use of St Mary le Port Tower and ruins which are presently on Historic England’s “Heritage at Risk” register. Once complete, St Mary le Port Tower and ruins will be open to the public for the first time in decades, with four streets and routes re-instated that were lost in the Blitz. 

As part of the plans, there will be 50,000-sq-ft of new public realm, including new public space around St Mary le Port Tower with landscaped terraces leading down to the Floating Harbour. The plans will increase the amount of soft landscaping on site by over 200% and generate a major on-site biodiversity uplift of over 85%.

Chris Kimber-Nickelson, Development Director of MEPC, the commercial property development and asset management arm of Federated Hermes said, “We are delighted that our plans for this important but long neglected site, can start to move forward. We don’t have an exact start date but will be working to get on site as quickly as we can.”  

Central to the design principles for the site is to create a genuine sense of place around the St Mary le Port ruin and the new streets and spaces that will connect it back to the city and Castle Park. As long term investors this is the start of a long term relationship with stakeholders and community representatives and whilst the development aims to expand and enrich the local area, working with the local representatives is a key part of ensuring the project succeeds.

Chris Taylor, CEO of Real Estate, Federated Hermes said: “We are encouraged by the decision to approve plans for St Mary le Port. This scheme seeks to provide a new heart to the City with a single managed estate. This unites great public realm alongside sensitive preservation of the rich heritage buildings in what will be a community engaged mixed use scheme. The partnership strategy we adopt with the public sector includes engaging with local communities and gives us a great foundation to build up a sense of civic pride and belonging for Bristol citizens.

“We look forward to creating a new attractive city centre destination which we believe will attract and retain talent and provide the impetus for inward investment.”

Bristol Mayor, Marvin Rees, added: “We are delighted to see the St Mary le Port scheme moving forward again. It’s a really important site and scheme for Bristol, transforming a long-derelict site and restoring an 11th Century church. By securing investment into the city, this scheme will turn three city centre eyesore buildings into new offices and shops, creating new jobs and helping this underused site to thrive once again.”

For more information, please contact: [email protected]

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