New businesses to bring different flavour to Keynsham's former chocolate factory

Published on: 07 Oct 2017

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Employment is soon set to return to Keynsham’s former chocolate factory as the first tenants of the site’s commercial space have been revealed.

And news that a herbal tea and supplements firm, an unnamed Bath company and St Augustine’s GP surgery will all be taking space in Block C – now called the Chocolate Factory – comes as the first residents of the converted site prepare to move into their apartments at the end of October.

More than half of the 100,000 sq ft of office accommodation has now been let by Alder King, acting on behalf of St Monica Trust, which has redeveloped the former Frys factory into a mix of assisted living apartments, a care home, retail and leisure space called the Chocolate Quarter. 

David Williams, chief executive of the St Monica Trust, said: “We are delighted to welcome the first tenants to the Chocolate Factory and look forward to sharing the unique mixed-use environment within the wider Chocolate Quarter that includes a café, restaurant, spa and many other facilities.”

The entire fourth and fifth floors of Block C have been let to a company that will be relocating from Bath, the name of which hasn’t yet been released, while south Bristol-based Pukka Herbs will be moving its operation to the third floor of the building next year.

Tim Westwell, CEO and co-founder of Pukka Herbs, said: “Pukka has experienced extraordinary growth since inception in 2001 and has plans to continue this long into the future.  It was therefore critical that we found an office space that could match our ambitions of improving people’s lives through the power of herbs while retaining our links with the Bristol area. The newly refurbished Chocolate Factory provides Pukka with an excellent solution and we are extremely excited to be taking occupation in spring of 2018.”

Meanwhile St Augustine’s Medical Practice will be taking up part of the ground floor when it relocates from its current premises in Station Road.

Dr Nick Woodward, senior partner at St Augustine’s Medical Practice, said: “We are delighted to be moving the Keynsham branch of our practice to The Chocolate Factory. These modern premises will offer superb facilities to both our patients and staff. While retaining our Saltford surgery, the new premises will offer more parking to patients and there will be a regular bus to service to the Cadbury site. This is great for our patients and enables our practice to support Keynsham’s ever enlarging population.”

Simon Price, head of agency at Alder King, said: “The level of interest in the development has been very strong and this is reflected in the quality of occupiers that we have already secured at the scheme. The range of on-site amenities and proximity to Keynsham Station have proved very popular with office occupiers.”

Construction is due to be completed on the commercial space by December – while in the residential blocks, work is drawing to a close and the first residents are just weeks away from moving in. A St Monica Trust spokesperson said the scheme had been their fastest-selling development ever, with around 55 per cent of apartments sold off-plan.

Chefs announce opening of new pizzeria

Another new arrival at the Chocolate Quarter has been announced, in the shape of a pizza restaurant.

Called B Block, to reflect some of the history of the site, the all-day restaurant is led by chefs Adrian Kirikmaa and Ben Sacree, the former head chef at Bristol’s much-praised Flour and Ash, with input from Michelin-starred Josh Eggleton.

B Block will launch this autumn and will be open from 7.30am until 9.30pm every day, serving coffee, cakes and breakfasts, and a range of lunch and dinner dishes alongside their wood-fired pizzas. There will also be a range of wines, local ciders, craft beers and gins available in the evenings.

It will have 60 seats and décor with a “stripped-back industrial feel”. Visit www. b-blockpizza.co.uk or follow B Block on Twitter @BBlockPizza.

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