Hi-tech Bristol centre 'to create thousands of jobs'

New jobs could be created over the coming years thanks to a 1.7 million transformation of Isambard Kingdom Brunel's original train station.

The Engine Shed in Bristol has been given a new lease of life as the base for hi-tech, creative and low-carbon firms.

The new use for the Grade I-listed building is fitting given that when it was built 172 years ago it was considered to be at the cutting edge of technology, acting as Bristol's gateway to the rest of the world.

Those behind the regeneration of the Engine Shed said it will help boost the city's economy, creating 5,000 "high-value" jobs in the next 15 years.

SETsquared - the University of Bristol's business incubator - will manage the project.

Nick Sturge, director of SETsquared, said the new development will be a big asset to the city.

"These are exciting times for the business community in Bristol," Mr Sturge said.

"Thanks to Brunel, his engine shed once epitomised the cutting-edge of technology in the 19th Century and now it will be a hub for new technology in the 21st Century."

In total, 18 businesses will occupy the Engine Shed, with another 44 using the facilities such as superfast broadband. A third of the office space will be taken up by SETsquared.

The Engine Shed is just a short distance from Bristol's main Temple Meads station and its creators want it to become "one of the world's most connected enterprise hubs".

Directors also said they want it to become a "shop front" for potential investors in the region.

Bristol's Mayor George Ferguson, who officially opened the building along with Greg Clark, the Minister for Cities, and Professor Sir Eric Thomas, the vice-chancellor of the University of Bristol, said: "The opening of Engine Shed in record time demonstrates the innovation, ambition and collaborative working that exists here in the city.

"Once home to Brunel's innovative railway, Engine Shed is now in the heart of Bristol's Enterprise Zone and is home to creative and hi-tech companies developing the technology of the future.

"It is also a key node on the GigaBit Bristol broadband network, connecting buildings in the city, and developing the potential for new collaborative and creative working."

Copyright Press Association 2013