AXA IM - Real Assets secures 200,000 sq ft pre-let to BT Group at Assembly Bristol

AXA Investment Managers - Real Assets (AXA IM - Real Assets) has secured a pre-let agreement for 201,000 sq ft, at Assembly Bristol, with BT Group (BT).

Assembly Bristol is the flagship mixed-use regeneration scheme centred around a best in class flexible and smart workspace offering in the centre of Bristol, being developed by AXA IM – Real Assets on behalf of clients, with Bell Hammer retained as development manager.
BT has pre-leased the whole of Building A, an 11-storey building which is due to practically complete in 2020 and will be the first phase delivered as part of the overall 320,000 sq ft development. BT has agreed a 20-year lease on the building [as part of its UK wide office consolidation programme], The Better Workplace Programme, with the first staff expected to move in in 2021.
Ground work is also set to commence shortly on two further office buildings of 28,000 sq ft and 92,000 sq ft. 
In line with AXA IM - Real Assets’ global strategy of placing significant emphasis on sustainability and occupier wellness, Building A is targeting BREEAM Excellent, WELL Certification and WiredScore Platinum, which support AXA IM - Real Assets’ drive to provide sustainable spaces that remain valid over the long term for their users and the cities in which they are located.
The development is at the heart of the well-connected urban area of Bristol and a short walk to the city centre, Temple Meads Station, Cabot Circus shopping and the Floating Harbour via a new river walkway included as part of the plans working with Bristol City Council.
The site benefits from its status as part of the enterprise zone with significant public investment in infrastructure; including the new University of Bristol Enterprise Campus and the electrification of the Great West Railway which reduces the journey time to London to around 1hr 20min and increases the travel capacity by some 45 per cent.
“We’ve been searching for a modern workspace in central Bristol fit for our future and in Assembly I’m pleased to say we have found it,” says Graeme Paton, MD, Property and Facilities Services at BT. “We were impressed with the flexibility and environmental credentials of the building, as well as its ideal location close to public transport links. We’re now beginning work on planning for our first colleagues to move in towards the end of 2021. The Better Workplace Programme is about transforming where and how we work and creating spaces that make our colleagues proud. This new building will be a key space for BT’s presence in Bristol and the south west. We have thousands of colleagues in the area, and they help BT Group contribute more than GBP1.3 billion to the region’s economy.”
Harry Badham, UK Director of Development at AXA IM - Real Assets, says: “Assembly Bristol represents the best of our experience developing new workspaces and BT’s decision to choose this development under its UK-wide better workplace programme is both a strong endorsement of this approach and the latest demonstration of a major corporate recognising the importance of staff wellbeing as part of its corporate narrative.
“We committed wholescale to Bristol when we acquired this site in 2015 and have worked hand in hand with both Bristol City Council and our excellent design team to create productive, future-ready workplaces for all business sectors.  We took the full construction and leasing risk at a time of wider political and economic uncertainty because of our belief in the strength of the local authority, the product we are creating and the location.”
JLL acted on behalf of BT and Savills acted on behalf of AXA IM – Real Assets.  Savills and JLL are joint letting agents for the project.