Main contractor appointed for Phase Two of The Forum in Gloucester
By Bethany Winter | 11th February 2022
Kier has been appointed by Reef Group and Gloucester City Council as main contractor for Phase Two of The Forum - Gloucester's new £107m digital and technology quarter.
Kier, with a regional base at Quedgeley, Gloucester, oversaw the rebuilding of Shire Hall and the Gloucester Transport Hub as well as the new secondary school in Leckhampton
Phase Two will see the main campus of The Forum delivered as 135,000 sq. ft. of Grade A workspace alongside a 130-room 4-star hotel, rooftop restaurant and bar, state-of-the-art digital conference facilities, a 9,000 sq ft wellness centre and a member's club.
Kier will deliver The Forum focusing on local supply chains to ensure investment remains in the local economy. The contractor will also create a physical and virtual on-site learning hub to provide training and job opportunities for the local community. The learning hub will be based in the city centre at Nem House, adjacent to King's Walk Gloucester. The hub will remain in place following completion of the project to continue its role of supporting local residents into employment with new businesses based at The Forum.
Work to construct Phase Two will begin on site in March 2022.
Esther Croft, development director at Reef Group, said: "Kier's commitment to sustainability, learning and employment opportunities and its long-standing connection to Gloucestershire made it the ideal contractor to deliver The Forum.
"Very importantly for us, Kier is determined to support the local community to access all these new training and employment opportunities that will be generated by the build programme. The new learning hub will help ensure that local people can benefit directly from The Forum in the immediate future, as well as the digital campus acting to attract talent from across the UK in the years to come."
Andy Bolas, regional director for Kier Construction Western & Wales, said: "Working with Gloucester City Council and Reef Group, we look forward to delivering this flagship digital centre which is set to be a beacon for technology and cyber security businesses in the south west.
"Over 85% of the project team are based in Gloucestershire which means we will utilise our local knowledge, skills and supply chain partners to complete this project. The learning hub is also a unique and enduring legacy which aims to provide sustainable job and training opportunities for the Gloucester community."
Councillor Richard Cook, leader of Gloucester City Council, said: "The appointment of Kier represents a significant milestone in bringing forward The Forum, and making a reality of our vision of Gloucester as a hub for the digital and cyber sectors. As well as attracting new investment into the city, The Forum will be an inspiring and attractive place for residents and visitors, completely transforming what was formerly a tired part of the city."
The Forum: Part of Gloucester's regeneration and 'levelling up'
Phase One of The Forum is already under construction by Gloucester based firm E G Carter & Co Ltd. It includes 43 one, two and three-bedroom apartments; cafes, bars, and restaurants at street level; and 5,000 sq ft of retail space to be occupied by Tesco. This phase is due to complete by autumn 2022.
The Forum is set to attract a mix of tech businesses from start-ups to big occupiers, tapping into the booming digital and cyber-technology industry, we well as providing workspace suitable for 'hybrid' working as a result of pandemic lifestyle changes that have occurred over the last two years.
In a further boost for the city, £5 million of funding is being accessed by The Forum from the levelling-up fund - a Government fund to support the regeneration of town centres and high streets and the provision of new transport infrastructure across the UK regions. Specifically, the £5 million levelling-up funding will support The Forge - a high-tech 'incubator' hub for fledgling businesses in the tech and digital sectors based at The Forum.
The Forum is part of wider regeneration underway in the city centre and a central part of the council's King's Quarter regeneration, which will deliver two acres of pedestrianised public space.
The digital campus will be at the forefront of digital innovation providing one of the most digitally connected and cyber-secure developments in the country. The Forum is expected to complete in summer 2024. Reef Group has appointed agents JLL and Bruton Knowles to target local, national, and international tech occupiers.
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