After battling for years to get the go ahead on the redevelopment of King’s Quarter, it is now looking likely that the budget will be agreed in this evening’s full Gloucester City Council meeting.
The £107 million investment will allow the ambitious plans for the tired city centre precinct to go ahead with the aim being not just a physical transformation, but the creation of a thousand new jobs too.
Councillor Richard Cook, leader of the city council, said: ‘Our long-standing vision to regenerate and revitalise this part of the city is well on the way to becoming a reality.
‘This multi-million pound investment in Gloucester city centre will transform the city and make it into a vibrant destination for residents and visitors to enjoy as well as creating new jobs and attracting new businesses.’
It is hoped the new space will lure in ‘a number of specialised digital and technology companies’ as well as ‘boost the lunch time and evening economies and support local retailers’.
The city council hired development partners Reef Group, which came up with the vision of a digital quarter at the heart of Gloucester called The Forum.
It is a scheme that has also involved Gloucester-based Quattro Design Architects with another city firm, construction business EG Carter, already busy preparing the ground in readiness for the renovation of King’s Square itself.
The Forum will include more than 125,000 square feet of new versatile office space with a shared workspace club and an innovation hub for emerging cyber businesses and incubator businesses.
This would sit alongside a 131-bedroom four-star hotel, a 9,000 square foot gym, restaurants, shops, bars and cathedral view apartments.
As part of the 600,000 sq ft master plan for The Forum, there will be a multi-storey car park, alongside over one acre of public realm and landscaping work.
If all goes as expected today, work would then start in the spring on the first phase – which has already been approved by the planning committee.
Continuing alongside ‘at pace’ is the renovation work to develop King’s House into a cultural hub with an incubator for start-up creative and cultural businesses as well as music studios, teaching rooms and performances spaces.
The wider regeneration scheme also includes 26 affordable homes in Northgate Street to be operated by a local housing association.
The council meeting is due to take place this evening (Thursday, January 28) at 6.30pm and the meeting can also be followed online at Gloucester City Council.
By Andrew Merrell