In 2012, TCN was instrumental in creating a creative hub right next to Temple Meads station. Having acquired a derelict site comprising a mix of architectural styles, TCN regenerated two buildings from two very different eras of Bristol’s history: the original headquarters of the Bristol and Exeter Railway and an old sorting depot. The sites now provide space for over 40 different companies, and are known as Bristol & Exeter House and Temple Studios. The final piece of the site jigsaw is the old telephone exchange building, which was flattened before being sold to Skanska, who have plans to eventually develop a large Grade A office building on the site, in 2015.
What does TCN do? TCN searches out and buys unloved buildings, and then uses creativity and a lot of elbow grease to transform them into workspaces for the creative and digital industries. Of course, these industries do not want standard space, and so all of TCN’s projects include initiatives to encourage clustering, innovation and creativity from their various occupiers.
TCN is a long-term investor and once the development is complete the work continues to provide environments for growth and innovation. Whilst our portfolio includes workspace in London, Birmingham and Norwich, Bristol holds a special place in our hearts as it was here that our vision was immediately understood; we were recognised as the Enterprise Zone Business of the Year in 2013.
What properties does TCN have in the Enterprise Zone? Bristol & Exeter House, the original station headquarters, has always maintained a stately and unique exterior. However, this amazing building had been vacant for a long time and needed a lot of TCN TLC back in 2010 to bring it back to its former glory.
Having been convinced that Bristol demanded the product produced, Temple Studios was then developed in 2013 as part of the same campus. The 1930s building, on the brink of dereliction with rain water flooding through all floors, has been rescued and reimagined into a contemporary industrial style office building with a mix of units and large communal areas.
Both buildings form a bold and thriving hub for creative and digital innovation in Bristol and the long waiting list for space reflects the demand for appealing and inspiring workplaces.
What kinds of businesses are based in the buildings? We like our occupiers to be as vibrant as our buildings! There are approximately 20 companies in each building, ranging from marketing agencies to cutting edge video production companies, including Atomic Smash (web design), The Bristol Magazine (print journalism), saintnicks (creative agency), HAB Housing (residential developer), Five AI (driverless car technology) and Digirank (digital marketing).
What makes TCN’s approach to workspace so distinctive? TCN are developers as well as operators. So we are constantly evolving our buildings to ensure they stay relevant in a rapidly changing world. This approach also ensures that the service provided never falls below the original vision.
As operators, we recognise that exciting places aren’t just about the buildings themselves, and we constantly work hard to create a collaborative community by holding tenant events and developing partnerships with our neighbours, such as the innovative Engine Shed and local cult favourite Hart’s Bakery.
Do you have any exciting plans for the future? We have recently upgraded the main communal area on the campus to reflect the needs of our occupiers and will continue to expand and adapt as required. We never view our developments as finished, but rather as evolving projects.
TCN has just completed Assay Studios in Birmingham, which involved the regeneration of a beautiful 1800’s building in dire need of modernisation. Likewise, Piano House in Brixton is just completing, where a complete overhaul of a Victorian Warehouse has resulted in stunning space for 20 businesses in the heart of bustling Brixton. We don’t like to sit on our laurels though, so next is Newark Works in Bath, where we have been selected as the partner to bring forward a creative campus in the heart of the city. Planning has been submitted and we aim to be on site in Q3 this year, bringing forward an incredible workspace for over 40 companies opening in 2018. Given our experience over the last 10 years in the South West, we are very excited about this one – we’re confident it will be a major addition to the digital and creative scene.