VIDEO: Construction begins at Gloucester's £107m The Forum
By Matt Hall | 19th August 2021
A ground-breaking ceremony for Phase One of The Forum is taking place today (August 19) to mark the start of construction for Gloucester's new digital campus.
The ceremony will see key people involved in the project and in regeneration across the city gather to celebrate the occasion.
They include councillor Richard Cook, leader of Gloucester City Council, Richard Graham MP; councillor Collette Finnegan, Mayor of Gloucester; Jon McGinty, managing director at Gloucester City Council, Esther Croft, development director at Reef Group.
Other guests are Sam Carter, director at EG Carter Ltd; The Very Reverend Stephen Lake, Dean of Gloucester and chair of the City Centre Commission and Stephen Marston, vice-chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire and a representative of GFirst LEP.
MP for Cannop Chase, Amanda Milling, and Universities Minister Michelle Donelan also joined the event.
This initial phase will see 19 apartments along with 5,000 sq m of retail space for Tesco built by Gloucester-based builders E G Carter & Co, who were appointed by Gloucester City Council.
Phase One is expected to be complete in July 2022.
The local firm is also on site with the £5m regeneration of King's Square. Once complete, it is hoped the area will become a focus for the city centre and events space for live performances and entertainment as well as a destination and meeting place for visitors and residents alike.
Designed to 'Excellent' eco (BREEAM) credentials, The Forum will be net zero-carbon in operation using renewable electric supply throughout, including 250 photovoltaic panels, and features that minimise energy demand.
The development's car park will also boast one of the largest 'green walls' (vertical garden wall) in the South West, helping to improve the city's air quality and biodiversity levels.
Once complete, The Forum will include more than 125,000 sq ft of A-Grade office space, with a shared workspace club and an innovation hub designed for digital and incubator businesses. There will also be a four-star hotel, a 9,000 sq ft gym, restaurants, bars and a new car park.
Councillor Richard Cook, leader of Gloucester City Council, said: "We are delighted to see this project make further progress and hit another milestone. The Forum will be a transformative scheme for Gloucester, helping to make it a fantastic, 'future ready' place and it will complement the work already being done to attract digital businesses and investment to the county."
Esther Croft, development director at Reef Group, said: "The location, scale and quality of The Forum is set to be unrivalled in the South West. These residential units and retail space are key elements of The Forum's hyperlocal style campus, which will benefit from 'future-proof', advanced digital and environmental credentials."
In an exclusive interview with Punchline-Gloucester.com editor Mark Owen, Esther Croft also revealed that construction for Phase Two (on land formally occupied by Gloucester Bus Station and Bruton Way Car Park) will begin in early 2022.
She added: ""It's going to be a very busy construction area for the next two to three years, but they are coinciding nicely together. In three to four years people will see a different high-quality and unique space."
"You cannot underestimate how important this is going to be. It's a magic combination of private sector businesses, students, educational facilities and then the cultural hub in Kings House. It's like a magic triangle of uses which we couldn't be more excited about."
Richard Graham, MP for Gloucester, said: "This is another step forward for the Forum and our city centre's revival. When Tesco relocates in 2022 and Grosvenor House comes down residents will see tangible progress on this key site. We're all looking forward to the future Forum."
Sam Carter, director at E G Carter & Co Ltd, said: "The Forum is a key part of Gloucester's future identity; it's very exciting to have a role in making this vision become reality."
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