Glassworks PBSA development tops out

Winvic Construction celebrated topping out at the Glassworks purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) scheme in Bristol.

The Glassworks PBSA development in Bristol tops out | PBSA News
The Glassworks PBSA development in Bristol tops out.

A Bristol PBSA redevelopment, at a 2.5 acre site in the heart of the city, has reached a key milestone. Main contractor Winvic Construction celebrated topping out at the Glassworks development at the mixed-used Redcliff Quarter scheme.

UBS Asset Management Real Estate and Private Markets forward funded and acquired the PBSA scheme. In 2021, developer Madison Cairn secured planning permission for the PBSA development of 367 rooms in a mix of 117 cluster and 250 studios, alongside 468 new Build to Rent homes.

The site has a much longer history. It has been vacant for over 20 years when, in 2017, planning permission was granted to regenerate the site.

“Fresh is delighted to collaborate with UBS on the Redcliff Quarter project, continuing our partnership alongside managing four other properties on behalf of UBS. This partnership not only marks growth for us in Bristol where we currently manage two other properties, but also strengthens our commitment to enhancing the resident experience through bringing our Be Wellbeing programme to more students in Bristol. Our focus on events and wellbeing ensures that students in our properties enjoy a vibrant and supportive community. We’re excited to bring this vision to life at Glassworks and look forward to its completion in 2025, further contributing to the growth and development of this dynamic city.”

Eddie Kane, Head of Division (South) Fresh

Development stalled

However, after completing the first phase of the scheme the development stalled. Madison Cairn took over as developer, successfully unlocking the scheme. Part of the changes involved reworking planning consent from a 236-bedroom hotel to the 367 bedroom PBSA scheme.

Amenities at the 11 storey Glassworks PBSA development includes student amenity spaces, gym, resident shared study room, yoga room, cinema, Zen garden, games area, dedicated social space, an onsite laundry, dedicated postal pigeon-holes, secure cycle storage, and will have a receptionist.

“Growing up in Bristol, I’ve always had a deep connection to this city, which makes reaching the topping out of Redcliff Quarter particularly special. Our business, Iesis Consult, has been operating on Redcliff Street for over 15 years, making this project close to home in more ways than one.

“The development of Redcliff Quarter, situated in the heart of Bristol, has been a complex and high-profile endeavour. Our team, alongside a dedicated wider team has navigated significant market changes to bring this vision to life. It’s rewarding to see our efforts come to fruition, providing essential housing and student accommodation. I’m proud of our collective achievements and eagerly anticipate the completion of this project, which will greatly benefit the Bristol community.”

Ryan Jones, Managing Director at IESIS CONSULT

The site is a nine-minute walk from Bristol Temple Meads Station. It sits at the heart of Europe’s largest regeneration scheme, Temple Quarter where the University of Bristol is developing its new Enterprise Campus. 

According to Cushman & Wakefield’s assessment undertaken for the University of Bristol, there remains a substantial under-supply of student accommodation.

Housing market

To maintain the current numbers of students unable to access PBSA by 2030/31, an additional 15,425 beds will be required. This increases to a total of 23,573 by 2039/40.  

“Demand for PBSA remains extremely strong in many of the UK’s key cities, not least in Bristol where both the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England continue to grow and enjoy excellent reputations. However, Bristol has a substantial shortfall in PBSA while – at the same time – the huge Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus is driving further growth in demand. This addition to our UK portfolio builds on our strength across key UK university cities.”

Oliver Abram, Portfolio Manager, Direct Real Estate Investment at UBS AM REPM

This week Cubex and joint venture partner, Alara Investments, announced their first unconditional acquisition as a partnership of a brownfield site in central Bristol. The scheme will deliver 550 PBSA bedrooms if planning is granted. The scheme will have a Gross Development Value (GDV) in excess of £100m.