Major project to transform Bristol buildings reaches topping-out milestone

February 22, 2016

A major project to breathe new life into two long-empty offices buildings in Bristol city centre has reached an important milestone as work progresses to transform them into student homes.

The final piece of timber frame has been put in place at Prince William House, a Grade II listed 1980s building being redeveloped alongside its neighbouring building, Matthew House, by Urban Creation.

This marks the topping out of this £4.5million renovation project that comes after the site was sold by Urban Creation to Empiric last year. The work on the site, which is being carried out by regional contractors Bray & Slaughter, is expected to be completed in the summer. The completed project will see the two buildings house 75 student bedrooms and communal space, as well as a cinema and gym.

Jonathan Brecknell, who is director at Urban Creation and has many years of experience in converting historic Bristol buildings, said: “This is a complex project that will see two long-empty Bristol city centre-based buildings transformed into high quality student accommodation, regenerating the site and uncovering some key historical features.

“The accommodation will offer a real ‘home from home’ feel within modern, cleverly-designed space that has been properly thought through to ensure that all student needs are catered for, taking into consideration storage requirements, the best possible layout and the fact that they want easy access to communal space and leisure activities.

“There is strong demand from the student market for homes offering a high standard of living, so occupants can make the most of their time in Bristol, their studies and opportunities to enjoy student life. Prince William and Matthew House will offer all this and more, with the site to feature a 30-seat cinema.”

Work on the site, which will include both studio and 3-bedroom apartments, started in September last year. It is located a five minute walk away from the University of Bristol’s main city campus, and not far from the city centre, vibrant harbourside area and popular shopping and leisure hubs of Park Street and the Clifton Triangle.

Grant Jefferies, managing director at Bray & Slaughter, said: “We are delighted to be continuing our relationship with Urban Creation and this development is our fourth scheme with them in the city. Re-purposing dilapidated building stock in complex locations such as this has been a key component in our growth and success and we look forward to celebrating the completion of the building prior to the start of the 2016/17 academic term.”
Prince William House has a colourful history, having been damaged by a fire which broke out in 1913. The facade of the building was painted white following the incident. As part of the renovation, Urban Creation has stripped the white paint away to reveal the traditional Bristol red brick beneath.

The work also includes the demolition of part of Prince William House and its refurbishment, as well as the installation of a timber frame that now wraps around the building. Matthew House is, meanwhile, also undergoing refurbishment. Both buildings have been empty for some time.

As part of the project, Urban Creation will be commissioning some public art, details of which will be revealed at a later date.