Reaching new heights – Gloucester City Council celebrates major milestone at The Forum’s Topping Out Ceremony

Gloucester’s ambitious Forum development reached an important milestone yesterday with the Topping Out ceremony to mark an exciting moment in the site’s construction.

The highest point of the new buildings on site has now been reached. At 30 metres tall, or 155 steps from the ground floor it offers stunning views of Gloucester city, the cathedral and the surrounding Gloucestershire countryside.

The Forum is a key part of the £200million regeneration of the city centre by Gloucester City Council, and its partners Reef Group, and the University of Gloucestershire. The Forum includes a boutique 131-bedroom hotel, gym, retail space and upscale residential homes.

It will also offer two brand new office spaces and is ideally situated next to the train and bus stations, along with new car parking with EV chargers – for which an operator will be announced this summer.

Phase One of the Forum was completed earlier this year, including residential and retail elements. The Whitefriars apartment complex consists of 19 contemporary, architect-designed homes, 90 percent of which have already been snapped up.

IHG Hotels & Resorts, which has hotels in major cities around the world, announced in March it would bring Hotel Indigo, their flagship international boutique brand to Gloucester. The landmark deal is set to attract further businesses and people to the city.

Attendees at the ceremony yesterday climbed to the top floor of one of the buildings where a tree was placed. This is a practice going back to ancient Scandinavian traditions, when this was done to appease tree-dwelling spirits displaced in construction. Councillor Richard Cook and Stewart Deering, CEO at Reef Group, gave speeches to mark the occasion. The group also visited The Forum’s Learning Hub, a space designed to inspire and enable Gloucester residents to secure good, well-paid jobs in the city centre, connecting employers with potential employees.

Richard Graham, MP for Gloucester, said: "Our city will only move forward with ambitious plans well delivered in Gloucester City Centre. The Forum - a business tech, hotel and car park focused development - by the city council with its implementation by Reef plc - is a key part of the £200 million taxpayer funded investment in the regeneration of Gloucester city centre.

“So this milestone is a key part of delivery, and in turn complements the new University of Gloucestershire City Campus in the former Debenhams, the new library and Wellbeing Centre there. I congratulate the City Council, Reef and Kier, and encourage residents to come and see all the progress there!”

Councillor Richard Cook, leader of Gloucester City Council, said: “We are thrilled to see this significant moment arrive. The Forum will be the jewel in the crown of this multi-million pound redevelopment of our city centre and will help to boost both our day and night time economies as well as attracting businesses and new investment. This, along with the redevelopment of Kings Square and the revamp of Kings Walk, will help to make Gloucester a city fit for the future.”

Esther Croft, Development Director at Reef Group, said: “Reaching the pinnacle of the build is an exciting and significant moment, which we are thrilled to share with partners, councillors and the wider teams. We now look ahead to the next stage of the build – fitting the façade to the buildings, finalising key elements of the interiors and seeing the space fully take shape, in a style that fits its purpose as a professional and leisure hub of the city centre.”

Andy Bolas, regional director at Kier Construction Western and Wales, said: “Over the past few months, this project has really taken shape and is already a prominent landmark on the Gloucester skyline. The topping out event marks a significant milestone at The Forum so it is fantastic that we were able to share the impressive progress we’ve made. We look forward to delivering this flagship digital centre next year, which is set to be a beacon for technology and cyber security businesses in the South West and will deliver exciting new amenities for Gloucester.”