Making King’s Quarter a bustling, sustainable gateway to Gloucester
JLL was commissioned to bring new character and purpose to a neighbourhood that was underperforming - but brimming with potential
King’s Quarter and The Forum, Gloucester
Sustainability and the environment at the heart of the strategy
Until recently, the area around the King’s Walk Shopping Centre in Gloucester city centre was an underperforming neighbourhood, in need of new vision. The mall itself and King’s Square, a large public space, were underused and required modernisation.
But the area had obvious potential. It is an important arrival point into the city, close to both the new bus station and a major rail interchange. It is a stone’s throw from Gloucester’s celebrated 11th century Cathedral and historic city centre.
Gloucester City Council, alongside their JV partner REEF Group, saw that potential – and so did JLL. This was a neighbourhood that, with the right mix of regeneration and new development, could be an impressive gateway to Gloucester city centre and a thriving commercial and social hub in its own right.
For that to happen, the King’s Quarter project needed to combine new economic opportunities with sustainable design, an attractive public realm and a renewed sense of purpose.
The ambitious redevelopment plan focused on the rejuvenation of the King’s Walk Shopping Centre and King’s Square, and the development of The Forum, a fully integrated mixed-use campus of digital-ready office space, a four-star hotel, health and leisure facilities and a multi storey car park.
When fully developed, The Forum will offer 98,000 sq ft of flexible Grade A office space designed for new digital-first businesses and hybrid workforces. It will be the focal point for an ecosystem of digital service providers and ambitious start-ups in South West England.
The Forum will breathe new life into the area by meeting demand for highly connected creative and collaborative spaces. In addition, leisure, hospitality and on-campus retail will help create a neighbourhood economy that bustles beyond office hours and adds to Gloucester’s reputation as a true “15-minute city”.
The wider King’s Quarter development includes new university buildings (repurposed from retail) and a small residential area, contributing to the area’s vibrant, always-on feel.
Putting sustainability at its heart
Local bus and train terminals mean The Forum and wider King’s Quarter will be easily reached by public transport. In addition, the campus will be equipped with bike parking, showers and changing facilities, to encourage cycling to work. The 398-space car park will feature 10% electric charging from opening, and has the capability to provide 100% electric charging in the future. To ensure its future adaptability the car park has been designed to maximise its flexibility for reuse as offices or residential.
In fact, sustainability is built into the redeveloped King’s Quarter. Smart building design means The Forum will be net-zero in operation.
To take one example, exposed concrete structures will reduce cooling demand through thermal exchange. The build will also feature the largest green wall in the South West, and will be powered, in part, by rooftop solar panels.
New planting will create green spaces throughout the King’s Quarter neighbourhood, which includes two acres of public realm. Walking routes will link the area to Gloucester’s historic centre. The redeveloped King’s Square will be an attractive public space that brings people together, and a venue for outdoor festivals and celebrations.
How JLL helped to make it happen
JLL has wide expertise in delivering development projects that unlock economic potential in a sustainable way. King’s Quarter required more than a plan for new office and leisure space. It needed a new vision for what this under-performing neighbourhood could be.
Working with Gloucester City Council and REEF Group, our multidisciplinary team prepared a comprehensive business case for the King’s Quarter development, including details of how the Council could unlock the potential of the neighbourhood.
We produced all the detailed assessments that are essential to successful redevelopment projects. Our advice included in-depth reviews of local supply and demand, income potential, construction cost review and funding opportunities. We also assisted with the legal process and advised on everything from land assembly and procurement to layout and commercial design.
Effectively, we helped ensure that the reality of King’s Quarter matched the vision: a rejuvenated neighbourhood reflecting the aspirations of a modern city.
The transformation of this area of Gloucester is now under way. We assisted the Council to raise the capital to buy and transform King’s Walk Shopping Centre and after receiving our advice, the Council, with its development partner REEF Group, secured a successful planning application and also raised funds to kick-start delivery of The Forum.
Despite Covid, work on both phases of The Forum is progressing at pace. Meanwhile, King’s Square is being transformed into a welcoming and accessible public space for residents, workers and visitors.
JLL’s expertise and dedication is helping to transform Gloucester and we are now supporting the Council on a number of other projects, including the assessment of a potential city centre Housing Zone. We also advised the city on the successful regeneration of Gloucester Docks.
The King’s Quarter is a redevelopment fit for the post-pandemic world – a vibrant and sustainable neighbourhood that acknowledges and supports the new ways we live, work and play.
It’s also a great example of what JLL does. We have the team and technology to deliver regeneration in a new and exciting way. We create places that flourish. We’re delighted to be playing a part in the realisation of Gloucester’s new clean, green, creative quarter.