Bath’s bright future as hub for creativity and innovation outlined by city’s property experts

February 19, 2014

Bath is about to get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a modern business centre that will position the city at the leading edge for creativity and innovation.

The Bath Quays development sites – on either side of the River Avon near the city centre – will give the city a unique chance to attract pioneering businesses in key sectors such as media, hi-tech, bio-tech and sustainability.

That was the upbeat message at a briefing staged in the city by international property agents Jones Lang Lasalle.

The 6.5-acre area is to be branded as Innovation Quay and marketed to developers and investors at next month’s MIPIM event, the world’s largest commercial property gathering.

It will be the first time that Bath has been able to compete with major international cities to attract inward investment – one insider described it as ‘The Big One’ for the city.  It also ties in with Bath’s ambitions to be seen as a ‘city of ideas’ – a test bed for innovation in new, low-carbon and ‘smart’ technologies.

The development could create 2,500 jobs and provide a £100m boost to the local economy. It could be open for business by 2019.

Jones Lang Lasalle’s (JLL) John Mulholland, an expert on Bath’s commercial property market, said: “This site will bring to the city something it has never had – a proper central business district.

“Unlike in most other cities, Bath’s office buildings have tended to be developed in various places around the city centre as those sites have become available.

“Bath Quays will, for the first time in generations, give the city a focal point for offices.”

The area will include 250,000 sq ft of new ‘enterprise space’ for businesses and is likely to include incubator space for new hi-tech businesses as well as space for research departments from the University. It will also have some new housing and retail/leisure units for those living and working in the new district and a new footbridge over the Avon.

The area, owned by Bath and North East Somerset Council (B&NES), forms part of the wider Bath Riverside Enterprise Area which will have 3,600 new homes, 650,000 sq ft of new workspace and create up to 9,000 jobs.

B&NES leader Paul Crossley said: “The prospect of having hi-tech businesses, university research facilities, and places for people to live combining with the buzz of the city and World Heritage Site is simply mouth-watering in terms of opportunities for local people and prosperity for our area.

“A healthy, smart, zero-carbon development will be created that will become the hub for imagination and creativity not just regionally, but worldwide as we take the area’s internationally respected reputation for digital expertise to the next level.”

A core part of the plan is to develop an ‘innovation campus’ on the site, which would be likely to include the University of Bath Innovation Centre.

The Innovation Centre is part of the SETsquared partnership which was recently voted Europe's best university business incubation organisation and 4th in the world.

It offers a world-class package including networking, mentoring and training in business skills, innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Bath Quay sites will be available for development following a number of flood prevention measures.

Comments are closed.


Reach tens of thousands of senior business people across the Bath area for just £75 a month. Email for more information.