Metro Mayor Dan Norris got an exclusive behind the scenes tour of what will be one of the largest city centre science and innovation schemes in the country – right in the heart of Bristol’s Old Market.
The 147,000 sq ft building, once home to Bristol United Press, will be known as Projekt, it can be confirmed and is the largest scheme of its kind in the whole South West, as well as being one of the largest such schemes outside of Oxford and Cambridge.
The site was purchased last year by Mission Street, a leading specialist investor, developer and operator for the science and innovation sector and their capital partner BentallGreenOak to provide state-of-the-art research and development facilities for science and tech firms in the city – big and small.
The idea is to help accommodate the rapid growth of the region’s science and innovation sector – ensuring growth can be accommodated within the city and region.
Projekt is scheduled to open in the summer of 2025, with work ongoing. But Mr Norris got a first look at the firms’ multi-million-pound investment in the city – including the proposed laboratories and offices, as well as the significant amenity space specifically designed to encourage companies to collaborate with one another.
Once completed, the state-of-the-art centre will host a range of companies from start-ups to major national and international companies wanting to work with Bristol’s brilliant science and tech workers. Mission Street’s CEO, Artem Korolev, explained to the Metro Mayor how this is crucial to helping keep talent in Bristol, and attracting innovative companies to come set up and invest in the city.
Mr Korolev went on to explain that Projekt further establishes Bristol, and the West, as one of the leading UK regions for science and innovation, with the multi-million-pound investment coming off the bat of other large-scale projects happening in the city. Both Arm and Dyson have recently announced plans to open sites in Bristol – another boon for the city, and its top-notch tech companies.
It’s also good news for residents with Mission Street working on plans to open a brand-new café and event space on site which will be fully open to the public as well as the companies based at Projekt, with the aim of putting science on show and blurring the line between the innovative research in the building and the local community.
Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “It was a pleasure to get a behind the scenes tour of Projekt. This will undoubtedly bring jobs and growth to this city – something my West of England Mayoral Combined Authority always welcomes – and will be a key driver in cementing the West’s position as one of the leading regions for cutting edge research and innovation. It will also play a crucial role in the ongoing transformation of Old Market and the surrounding local area – think it being a stone’s throw away from the brand-new Bristol University ‘Enterprise Campus’. That’s really exciting – talk about the possibilities! I’m delighted that our city is becoming a key location for investment, cementing the West of England science and tech sectors at the heart of the UK’s digital economy.”
Artem Korolev, Mission Street’s CEO added: ‘We have long recognised Bristol’s creative drive and huge potential across a wide range of science and innovation sectors. The lack of suitable space has meant expansion options for R&D companies in the region are extremely constrained, with many examples of businesses leaving the region as they grew beyond early incubation stage. We are working hard to address this through what will be a truly exceptional scheme designed by AHMM, specifically crafted to foster collaboration and accommodate the specialist requirements of our customers. It has been extremely encouraging to receive the widespread support for our proposals from Bristol’s innovation community whom we have been actively engaging with over the last two years.”