News / Millennium Square

EXCLUSIVE: Seven-storey hotel planned for Millennium Square

By martin booth, Monday May 4, 2020

A hotel as well as restaurants, bars and offices could finally see the completion of the Harbourside jigsaw.

The proposed scheme – which Bristol24/7 can today exclusively reveal – sees a 151-room hotel and restaurant on Millennium Square, as many as three bars and restaurants facing Bordeaux Quay, and office space as well as the hotel on the upper levels.

Architects of the seven-storey Waterfront Place say that its designs “will seek to pay regard to the area’s industrial heritage and harbour side character, whilst also being a scheme with its own identity”.

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“The aim has been to design buildings that distinguishes themselves from the surrounding area in terms of scale, massing, and materials whilst positively contributing to the attractiveness and prominence of Bristol Harbour and the Conservation Area.”

The proposed Waterfront Place seen from Lloyds Amphitheatre – image: AHMM

If planning permission is granted, the new building would be constructed on currently unused land – the only empty plot since the start of the Canon’s Marsh regeneration project.

The L-shaped plot of land stretching from next to Las Iguanas to next to Revolucion de Cuba is owned by Bristol City Council, with Railpen and Bell Hammer set to be the developer of the proposed scheme.

The architects behind the project, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM), have an office in Bristol on Queen Charlotte Street near Queen Square and won the Stirling Prize in 2015 for a school project in west London.

Their work in Bristol includes the Assembly office building currently being built on Temple Way.

The hotel would take up a currently empty corner of Millennium Square – photo by Martin Booth

The site of the proposed development as seen from Lloyds Amphitheatre – photo by Martin Booth

AHMM describe the current site as “a void in the townscape”, with Waterfront Place seeking to “unify and bind together the collection of substantial buildings around the meeting of the waters”:

“The proposed development can rightfully provide a central building of Bristol, not just as part of the dockside at a location to where ships from around the world have travelled, but to express the contemporary strength of the place, combining work and leisure, in this location at the heart of the modern city.”

But Hotwells & Harbourside councillor Mark Wright is not so keen on the plans, calling the building a “hideous carbuncle”.

He told Bristol24/7: “It’s incredibly disappointing for the most prestigious development site left in the city.”

Architects AHMM say that the proposed Waterfront Place is “a unique setting of the city where active uses meet and the water courses intersect” – image: AHMM

The empty plot on the corner of Millennium Square is next to Las Iguanas and Pryzm, and behind Revolucion de Cuba – photo by Martin Booth

The site was once earmarked for one of the most ambitious schemes in Bristol never to get off the drawing board.

In the late 1990s, the Harbourside Centre for the Performing Arts was envisaged to be Bristol’s answer to the Sydney Opera House – a strikingly modern multi-million pound concert hall and performance venue due to be completed by 2002.

Some £5m of public and private money was spent on the project, including on the construction of the Millennium Square car park, before the Arts Council pulled the plug on their funding, relegating the scheme to the history books.

Gaerman architects Behnisch, Behnisch and Partner won an international design competition to design the Harbourside Centre – photo: Behnisch

Main image: AHMM

Read more: Proposals for new £13.5m attraction, offering a unique bird’s eye view of Bristol

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