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Ipswich ‘Winerack’ construction work to start in January 2018 after contracts signed

PUBLISHED: 18:48 06 December 2017 | UPDATED: 18:48 06 December 2017

Go-ahead given for work to start on developing the 'Winerack' building at Ipswich Waterfront. Left to right: Iain Dunnett, of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, developer John Howard of Ipswich Wharf Developments, and James Wilson, of R G Carter Construction. Picture: ANGELA SHARPE

Go-ahead given for work to start on developing the 'Winerack' building at Ipswich Waterfront. Left to right: Iain Dunnett, of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, developer John Howard of Ipswich Wharf Developments, and James Wilson, of R G Carter Construction. Picture: ANGELA SHARPE

Angela Sharpe Photography

A major milestone in the Ipswich ‘Winerack’ saga dating back to the 2008 recession has been reached today with the news that key contracts have been signed and construction work will start next month, it can be revealed.

Contracts for work on the waterfront building have now been signed and construction is set to begin in January 2018, developers have confirmed. A total of 149 residential units and 5,000 square feet of commercial space will be created. The work is now due to be complete by Christmas 2020.

The building, the second tower at the Regatta Quay development dubbed the ‘Winerack’, has been in a semi-constructed state since the 2008 financial crash which caused the original developers to enter administration in January 2010.

It has stood empty in the site of the former Paul’s Maltings ever since, serving as a reminder of the banking crisis.

The latest CGI image of the proposed development. Picture: DANIEL FISHER The latest CGI image of the proposed development. Picture: DANIEL FISHER

Funding for the redevelopment was agreed in the spring earlier this year and after months of legal work, the contract for the work has now been awarded to R G Carter Construction.

Utilities work on the site has already begun, and the erection of a tower crane during May 2018 will be the first significant sign of progress.

John Howard, of Ipswich Wharf Developments, said: “This has been more than just a business project for me – I’m Ipswich born and bred so I’m pleased to be turning this infamous blot of the town’s skyline into fabulous homes for local people.

“Ipswich has a huge amount to offer and it’s great that all the partners involved”

Read a history of the building here.

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is investing £15 million in the development of the Winerack building, along with £5 million from New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The Ipswich 'Winerack' which is now due to be complete by Christmas 2020. Picture: SU ANDERSON The Ipswich 'Winerack' which is now due to be complete by Christmas 2020. Picture: SU ANDERSON

Chris Starkie, chief executive of New Anglia LEP, said: “The transformation of the Winerack marks a big step forward in the redevelopment of this part of the town and it will unlock new investment and development opportunities.”

The completed project will create 149 residential units and 5,000 square feet of commercial space. It will support 56 new jobs. It is a key development in the Ipswich Vision project, which brings together local partners to work towards a single vision for the regeneration of Ipswich town centre.

Terry Hunt, Ipswich Vision chairman, said: “This is brilliant news – a fantastic Christmas present for Ipswich.

“The so-called Winerack has been a blot on the horizon for years. Its conversion into homes will represent an important step in achieving the overall aims of the partners who make up Ipswich Vision. A great day for Suffolk’s county town.”

Paul Clement, chief executive of Ipswich Central, said: “This is great news for the Waterfront and great news for Ipswich. The Winerack became a reminder of the last recession. Now its redevelopment can become a symbol of a resurgent town centre, building its way to greater prosperity.”

Nick Walkley, chief executive of the HCA, added: “The HCA’s £15m investment through the Home Building Fund, working together with the New Anglia LEP, will turn this stalled site into the central part of the Ipswich Vision project to regenerate Ipswich town centre.

“The contract signing is a significant step towards seeing the completion of the project and I look forward to seeing work start on site in 2018.”

James Wilson, director and general manager of R G Carter Ipswich, said: “R G Carter is delighted to be delivering this exciting project and is proud to play a part in the town’s vision for regeneration.”

Nadine Buckland of Zenzic Partners, who have advised the developers on financing for the scheme, said: ‘We were delighted to advise on this landmark project and see the transaction through to completion. The funding structure that has been put together is genuinely innovative and will be transformative for this area of Ipswich.”

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