December 2019 - Thames Tap
Reading’s Bristol & West Arcade, has gone on the market with new development possibilities.
Owner MSL Mutual Finance is selling the site through Campbell Gordon and Savills.
Permission was granted in January 2019 for a mixed use redevelopment which includes 43 flats, 45,297 sq ft of offices and eight retail units totalling 17,137 sq ft.
Campbell Gordon director Duncan Campbell says there are two strong demands which could drive interest in the scheme – hotels and office space – and pre-application discussion with the council have already taken place over an alternative scheme for a 211-room hotel on the site.
He said: “It’s a pretty unique opportunity. There are very very few sites in Reading town centre that are so well located.”
Other development sites, he said, tend to be on the fringes of the town centre while the Bristol & West site is close to vibrant areas such as Market Place where increasingly frequent street food markets are taking place.
The town, Mr Campbell says, is ‘woefully underbedded’ for hotel provision while, in terms of the office market, there are currently few opportunities for potential occupiers since little has been built recently.
He said: “It may not seem it to the man in the street but, in Reading town centre, it’s absolutely the case that there’s an emerging shortage of Grade A office accommodation.”
Only Forbury Place and R+ have significant availability while four others; The White Building, Thames Tower, Reading Bridge House and Aquis House, have recently filled or are close to filling up.
Mr Campbell said while the office space within the consented Bristol & West scheme is a suitable size for many occupiers, a new buyer could consider a more office-led development instead.
He added: “It will be exciting to see what will happen here. We have a fantastic (consented) scheme but we will have to see whether a buyer wants to implement it.”