New Developments to Watch in Bracknell and Reading in 2019
Bracknell and Reading are the cornerstones of the UK’s answer to Silicon Valley, key commuter destinations and ideal investment opportunities for investors looking outside of London. Both represent an emerging market – attracting global corporate headquarters and drawing incredible professional tenant demand.
While London prices continue to stabilise and affordability remains stretched, the savvy investor will be looking to commuter belt locations – where generally the market offers better yields, more potential tenants and the opportunity for excellent growth. For Bracknell and Reading, in particular, this increase in demand has helped drive inward investment, creating iconic new developments across the landscape alongside brand new residential, office and retail spaces.
Bracknell Developments to Watch in 2019
GDV – £240million
Completion Date – 2017
The most significant development in a generation for Bracknell, The Lexicon is a £240 million transformation of Bracknell town centre, creating entirely new retail and leisure space while helping expand and improve the surrounding infrastructure. Spread over eight core buildings and six public squares ideal for events and activities, The Lexicon is home to over 70 new retail and food outlets including two 80,000 sq.ft stores housing Fenwick and Mark’s & Spencer as well as a 12-screen Odeon cinema.
Since opening in 2017, The Lexicon has attracted over 16 million shoppers, creating a new social and cultural heart for the area while bringing a superior mix of shops, restaurants and entertainment all within the town centre. The development has supported the refurbishment of existing shop facades, created 3,800 parking spaces in new or renovated parking areas and 3,500 new job opportunities have been generated.
This impressive development has redefined Bracknell Town Centre, creating a vibrant local economy, complementing the surrounding business and employment offerings while supporting other developments that are nearby. The Lexicon is a focal point of the overall Bracknell redevelopment and is still being added to in 2019, expanding and rejuvenating the wider Bracknell town centre.
Station Quarter/Civic Quarter Redevelopment
GDV – £770million invested in the wider region
Estimated Completion – 2032
Part of the wider Bracknell town centre redevelopment, the Civic Quarter and Station Quarter are set to undergo infrastructural changes to create a vibrant urban area, improving pedestrian and cycle connections while building new town-to-station links. A new station square creates a positive first impression while relocating bus stops to improve direct links to the town centre.
In the Civic Quarter, a mix of infrastructure improvements and mixed-use developments are planned around the surrounding residential areas, helping meet tenant demand. Once the surrounding network has been improved, Bracknell Forest Council envision further phases of development being unlocked, although no development plans have been confirmed.
Princess Square & The Deck
GDV – £30 million
Completion Date – 2022
One of the more recent developments in Bracknell is the transformation of Princess Square, a public space that includes retail and commercial space. Confirmed by the Bracknell Regeneration Partnership, £30 million will be spent on regenerating Princess Square into a ‘modern, light and airy centre’, eventually linking the public square to The Deck, a new project based on the site of the former Bentall’s department store. As part of the wider Lexicon scheme, The Deck will be filled with new retail and food units, taking advantage of the high footfall in the area. Work on The Deck is expected to start soon and due to be completed by 2022, creating anywhere between 3,000 – 19,000 sq.ft of retail, restaurant and leisure space.
A Grade II listed public house, The Bull is a historic town centre pub that has undergone a complete makeover as part of The Lexicon redevelopment. The single storey extension on the back of the building has been replaced by a brand new extension, creating a blend of traditional and contemporary design that perfectly suits its new surroundings.
Created as part of a painstaking renovation project, the new extension uses modern building techniques which are being influenced by the curved, distorted nature of the existing timber frame. At the heart of The Lexicon development, The Bull is a prime example of Bracknell’s regeneration maintaining a balance between old and new, moving the town forward while maintaining a sense of heritage.
Reading Developments to Watch in 2019
Currently in its planning application, No.1 Reading is a conversion of the former Norwich Union building. Sitting in a relatively underdeveloped area, No.1 Reading would be a hugely positive contribution to Reading’s landscape, linking two key destinations – the train station and the town centre.
The current planning proposal includes a 135-room hotel, restaurant, bar and five floors of office space, making it a truly multi-purpose mixed-use development that would contribute tens of millions of pounds to the local economy as well as creating hundreds of jobs.
Hosier Street Area Development Framework
Created by Reading Borough Council, this huge regeneration plan would reconnect several old sites to the wider Reading town centre, redeveloping several ‘run-down’ areas. If the plan were to go ahead, the framework would cover three distinct areas – The Hexagon Quarter, Minster Square and the area around Oxford Road.
The Hexagon Quarter would be a ‘high-quality, multi-functional urban quarter’, containing a public space in the form of a vibrant plaza. Queen’s Walk would be redeveloped as a ‘greenway’ ideal for families, turning a town centre street into an aerial park, emulating the New York high-line. The High Line would ‘maximise an under-celebrated space’ and restore the potential for town centre green areas.
Minster Square would be a renovation of the oldest parts of Reading, enhancing the area into an open space that perfectly blends contemporary amenities in a historic setting. Finally, St Mary’s Butts and the Oxford Road area would undergo infrastructural changes, improving the experience for pedestrians and public transport.
Royal Elm Park
Estimated Completion: TBC
A huge development as part of Reading Football Club’s Madejski Stadium, Royal Elm Park has been given the go-ahead by Reading Council. With plans for a £500million convention centre and housing development, Royal Elm Park is set to comprise a housing development, 2,000 sqm of leisure space, a hotel and an ice rink, as well as a park covering nearly 18,000 sqm.
Once complete, this development would allow Reading to host a number of much bigger, international events. The scheme will act as an invigorated destination for businesses and the local community, playing a significant role in driving enhanced inward investment.
Stay Ahead of the Property Market: Newsletter
Sign up today and be the first to get the latest property news, market insights and SevenCapital development updates delivered straight to your inbox, every month.