A property investment firm has submitted plans to redevelop a prominent Bristol office building into student accommodation – within two years of shelling out for a multi-million pound refurbishment of its asset.
Melburg is looking to repurpose the former South Plaza office block by the St James Barton roundabout, now known as 360 Bristol, into a £100m student scheme providing 370 beds.
The venture capital firm acquired the eight-story building in the city centre along with fellow real estate business Angelo Gordon in 2019. The following year it secured planning approval – reportedly five weeks after submitting its application to Bristol City Council – for a substantial refit, including modern Grade A workspace, a café and a gym.
The London-based company said at the time the Bristol office market was experiencing a period of “unprecedented tenant demand”. A number of NHS organisations currently occupy the 360 Bristol building, which according to its website has four of its eight floors fully let.
Melburg said it was now changing its plans for the building as part of significant investment into residential properties, to complement its expansive UK industrial portfolio, which exceeds 2.5 million sq ft.
Among its proposals for the new student accommodation are a state-of-the-art gymnasium with changing facilities, full café and leisure facilities, a screening room, golf simulator and 370 bike storage spaces – one for each student.
The ground floor of the building could also be extended as part of the transformation, topped with a ‘green roof’ of plants to encourage biodiversity. Melburg said it was hoping to open the accommodation by September 2025, subject to approval being granted.
A spokesperson for the company told BusinessLive its plans would help to address an “acute lack of supply” of student accommodation in Bristol, which they said was putting “continued pressure” on housing in the city.
The firm added that the NHS, the only occupier of Bristol 360, was “rightsizing and vacating”, and were “aware and supportive” of its new plans for the building.
Jack Burgess, Melburg’s chief executive, commented: “This ambitious, highly sustainable proposal seeks to provide Bristol with much needed purpose built student accommodation, and in so doing alleviate pressure on the chronically constrained housing market. We will be exploring operational optionality through our advisors Savills, are considering acquiring existing platforms and intend on growing our student housing exposure extensively as part of our wider investment into the living space”.
Melburg is also part of a partnership behind the proposals to demolish the Broadwalk Shopping Centre in Knowle in South Bristol, and replace it with a new development of more than 800 flats called Redcatch Quarter.
These plans were unanimously refused by Bristol city councillors a month ago, amid concerns about a lack of affordable housing, the height of the buildings as tall as 12 storeys and that too many flats would be crammed onto the site.
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