£350m deal set to transform disused Temple Island site in Bristol

310822 Temple Island Legal & General
A £350million investment will transform the disused site near Temple Meads Credit: Legal & General

A controversial deal that will see offices, a hotel, conference centre and hundreds of homes built at Temple Island has been completed.

Bristol City Council has finalised agreements with Legal & General, and the massive redevelopment on land formerly earmarked for an arena can go ahead.

L&G has agreed to invest £350million to transform the disused site near Temple Meads by building two “major Grade A” office blocks, 550 apartments and a 345-room hotel and conference centre.

In return, the local authority will spend £32million getting the derelict plot ready, including sorting contamination issues, before leasing Temple Island to the asset management firm for 250 years.

The council will also guarantee L&G rent on the office space for 40 years, an offer deemed “necessary” by mayor Marvin Rees to secure the investment.

A notice published this month on the authority’s website said executive director of growth and regeneration Stephen Peacock had now made the final decision to “enter into conditional disposal” of the land to L&G on a long lease.

It said Mr Rees’s Labour cabinet approved the proposals in February 2020 “to enable the delivery of a landmark mixed-use development on the site including homes, employment space, office space and a hotel and conference centre”.

Temple Island will be leased to Legal & General for 250 years. Credit: Legal & General

Members authorised officers to finalise the terms and “conclude all necessary legal agreements between the parties”, which has now been done.

The decision notice said: “The agreement contains various conditions which would have to be satisfied for the lease to be granted.

“Phase 1 consists of residential buildings and Grade A office space and Phase 2 consists of a hotel and conference centre and further homes and office space.

“The council agreed to carry out certain remediation and enabling works as necessary for development of Temple Island. The legal agreements have now been finalised and I have authorised exchange and completion.

“The terms of the agreement have been concluded and reviewed and are a reasonable and legally sound commercial arrangement which has been negotiated between experienced teams each with the benefit of support from national firms of valuers.

“The final terms do not depart from the heads of terms previously reported to cabinet in a way that adversely affects the risk profile for the council.

“The economic benefits of the proposed arrangements significantly outweigh the public cost.

“The proposed arrangements comply with Public Contract Regulations, state aid/public subsidy requirements and meet the council’s best value obligations."

Four years ago, the city mayor abandoned council plans for a major concert venue at the site then known as Arena Island and moved the project to Brabazon Hangars in Filton.

In 2021, Mr Rees said that over 25 years the city would get about £850million of gross added value, compared to about £300million from an arena, and that the L&G plans would generate about three times the number of jobs.

Temple Island is part of the wider Temple Quarter and St Philips regeneration to create 22,000 jobs and up to 10,000 homes.

Credit: Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporter