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The Business Magazine May 2024
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Former Bristol press building to be turned into science and innovation centre

The Business Magazine article image for: Former Bristol press building to be turned into science and innovation centre
23 May 2023

The former home of the Bristol Post and Western Daily Press is to become one of the largest city centre science and innovation centres.

The distinctive building in the heart of Old Market was purpose-built as the home of both papers and also had its own press hall.

The 147,000 sq ft building will be known as Projekt and is the largest scheme of its kind in the whole of the 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 new research and development facilities for science and tech firms in the city.

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.

West of England mayor Dan 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 designed to encourage companies to collaborate with one another.

Once completed the centre will host a range of companies from start-ups to major national and international companies wanting to work with Bristol’s science and tech workers.

Mission Street’s chief executive Artem Korolev, explained how the project will be crucial to helping keep talent in Bristol, and attracting innovative companies to come set up and invest in the city.

He went on to explain that Projekt further establishes Bristol, and the South 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.

Read more: Dyson unveils plans for £100m technology research hub in Bristol

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 and will be a key driver in cementing the West’s position as one of the leading regions for cutting edge research and innovation.

Read more: Tech firm Arm reveals plans for new site in Bristol

“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’.”

Artem Korolev 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.”

Invest Bristol & Bath (IBB) first engaged with Mission Street when they were assessing Bristol as an investment location, and worked with them and their agents to prepare a business case including details on inward investment activity in Life Sciences and R&D. The team were able to connect Mission Street with the our world leading universities and centres of excellence and incubators to explore partnerships and collaboration.

Projekt is scheduled to open in the summer of 2025, with work ongoing.

Nicky Godding is editor of The Business Magazine. Before her journalism career, she worked mainly in public relations moving into writing when she was invited to launch Retail Watch, a publication covering retail and real estate across Europe.

After some years of constant travelling, she tucked away her passport and concentrated on business writing, co-founding a successful regional business magazine. She has interviewed some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-pound businesses and reported on many science and technology firsts.

She reports on the region’s thriving business economy from start-ups, family businesses and multi-million-pound corporations, to the professionals that support their growth and the institutions that educate the next generation of business leaders.

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