Work has started on phase two of The Forum, the transformational £107 million project in the middle of Gloucester.
City dignitaries were among those to mark the occasion, which will see Kier Construction create 135,000 square feet of workspace, a 130-room four-star hotel, rooftop restaurant and bar, digital conference facilities, a 9,000 sq ft wellness centre and a member’s club.
Guests at the groundbreaking ceremony included Richard Graham, MP for Gloucester, councillor Joanne Brown, Sheriff of Gloucester, and councillor Richard Cook, leader of Gloucester City Council – which is behind the project and which appointed Reef Group to develop the scheme.
Councillor Cook said: ‘The Forum will be at the forefront of digital innovation providing one of the most digitally connected and cyber-secure developments in the country right here in Gloucester.’
It is widely mentioned in the same breath as the £1 billion Golden Valley Development to the west of Cheltenham, which also has cyber at its heart.
Esther Croft, development director at Reef Group, called the project 'visionary'.
She said: ‘Starting building work for phase two is the culmination of years of hard work and close collaboration between many of the individuals who have attended this event.’
Construction firm EG Carter & Co Ltd started work on phase one of The Forum in spring 2021, which will result in 19 apartments with views to Gloucester Cathedral along with 5,000 square metres of retail space to be occupied by the retailer Tesco.
Phase one of The Forum is expected to complete by autumn 2022, with phase two expected to complete in summer 2024.