Over the weekend (12 September 2015) two of the twenty containers that will make up “Boxworks” at Engine Shed were craned into position to mark the beginning of this exciting new workspace development.
Bristol City Council (BCC) granted planning permission for the development on 9th June 2015 in the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone.
George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol, said:
“Engine Shed has been a real success and businesses continue to be attracted to the collaborative and inspiring workspace it offers. There is great demand in the Enterprise Zone for workspace like this for the high-tech and creative sector and I am really supportive of temporary solutions like Boxworks that will play a key role in meeting this need. I look forward to seeing the contribution this exciting development makes to the Enterprise Zone and the local economy. ”
Located adjacent to the Engine Shed, the containers will be transformed over the coming weeks into custom-designed workspace for the creative, digital and high-tech industries. These will provide additional capacity for Engine Shed, which reached full occupancy in its first year, and the cluster of businesses and projects wanting to be part of this growing cluster. The Bristol SETsquared Centre, within Engine Shed, has also seen record levels of sustained occupancy and it is envisaged that some of the current virtual SETsquared members will now take space in Boxworks.
Engine Shed is a ground-breaking collaboration between Bristol City Council and the University of Bristol, supported by the Homes and Communities Agency, which contributed an additional £7m to the economy within 12 months of opening.
Boxworks is a meanwhile project that will run for up to two and a half years. It has been designed, built and will be operated commercially by Forward® with services provided by Engine Shed, including access to the iconic Engine Shed Business Lounge, for the expected 120 new occupants of Boxworks.
Gavin Eddy, Forward® CEO said:
“We are looking forward to working with ShapeStudio designers on the styling of the containers which will provide a creative environment for tech and digital SMEs wanting to grow their small teams into a larger space.”
This development will address part of the shortage of affordable, flexible and curated workspace before the second phase of Engine Shed opens, with funding from the West of England LEP. Engine Shed phase 2 is expected to open in late 2017, very close to Engine Shed.
Although Boxworks will not be a permanent installation, it is very much part of the strategic vision for the regeneration of the Enterprise Zone in Bristol, creating employment space for businesses that will benefit the wider West of England.
Nick Sturge, Engine Shed Director, said:
“We are delighted to have the development coming together so quickly to create this space on land made available by our partners, the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA). Only with the continued strong support from our partners – the University of Bristol, Bristol City Council, the West of England LEP and the HCA – can this project be delivered in true entrepreneurial fashion. We have been overwhelmed with growth of the enterprises inside Engine Shed and with interest from other businesses and projects wanting to be a part of the community here and are excited to see the range of companies that will move in.”
It is anticipated that the workspace will be completed and operational by October this year.