Ipswich: New owner pledges iconic`Wine Rack’ tower on Ipswich Waterfront will be completed

A view from Ipswich Waterfront with the unfinished 'Wine Rack' in the background A view from Ipswich Waterfront with the unfinished 'Wine Rack' in the background

Wednesday, June 4, 2014
9:22 PM

The long awaited redevelopment of a major eyesore on Ipswich Waterfront could act as a catalyst for further development, it was claimed last night.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

A sale has been agreed for Block A of the Regatta Quay complex – widely known as the “Wine Rack” – and purchaser Marina Developments (Ipswich) Ltd, has pledged it will be completed.

Last night borough leader David Ellesmere and Ipswich Central chief executive Paul Clement said they hoped the news would inspire confidence among developers and kick start regeneration in the area.

While it has stood skeletal and uncompleted during the financial collapse and the economic downturn there had been frequent rumours the “Wine Rack” would have to be demolished.

It became a symbol of the recession but now the landmark tower, a key part of the Regatta Quay scheme, will be completed.

Successful property developer and estate agent John Howard, exchanged contracts on the building late yesterday, for an undisclosed figure.

Property expert John Howard plans to create 150 one, two and three bedroom apartments as well as 20,000 sq ft of commercial space by employing local companies to complete the building.

He said: “My business partner Jeremy Scowsill and I both have lived in Ipswich all our lives and this is a great opportunity to develop an iconic building into something we will be proud of.

“We plan to use local companies so it will be a big boost for the local economy.”

David Ellesmere, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, said: “This is absolutely fantastic news for the town.

“The Wine Rack has been a blot on the Waterfront for so many years and now it’s been announced it has been sold to a developer willing to complete it, I think that is the best thing possible.

“Hopefully that will kickstart the regeneration of the rest of the Waterfront. The key thing is about getting confidence in the market, and having a developer prepared to invest money will give this confidence to others.

“We know that every pound invested in residential development is repaid many-fold. The fact that the developer is proposing to use local firms as well, creating or securing jobs in the construction industry locally, is even better news.

“So long as this goes ahead, and we hope it will, this is a very big day for the town and something we should be very pleased about.”

Paul Clement, chief executive of Ipswich Central, said: “This is tremendous news.

“It has gone to the right owner, a local guy who will build it out quickly.

“I think this will be a catalyst which will re-start development in this part of the Waterfront. There will be a knock-on effect I am sure.”

Once the sale is completed the new owners intend to commence cladding the building within nine months and put homes and shop units on sale during 2015.

Mr Howard added: “The completion of this project will breathe new life into the area and provide high quality residential and commercial accommodation in the heart of the Waterfront.”

Originally from Felixstowe, where he worked in the family estate agency business, Mr Howard has had a career in property development, including urban regeneration schemes across the country,

Mr Howard, is also the managing director of Auction House UK, and is managing director of Fine & Country estate agency in Norwich.

He has purchased or sold more than 2,000 houses, flats and developments in the UK over 30 years working within the property business.

Work on the Wine Rack building halted in 2009 after the developer ran into financial difficulties.

Nigel Millar, one of the Baker Tilley administrators for City Living, the developer, said: “Clearly this building has been a topic of much debate within the town over recent years.

“We have been working hard, along with our agents Savills, since our appointment to find a viable solution for this particular building, and I am delighted that we are able to announce the sale which we have agreed which should help transform the Ipswich Waterfront and benefit the community as a whole.

“There are still a few loose ends to tie up before the sale is able to complete. A variation to the original planning consent was not formalised by City Living before the concrete frame was built so we are going through the process with the local council to obtain the necessary consent but we hope that this will be resolved quickly.”

28 comments

  • I can well understand the people who have doubts about the so called Wine Rack never being completed.What happened to the transformation of Graffton Way,where is the Hotel Complex at Portman Road,indeed I do not see anything happening at the old Council Offices at the Civic Centre we get so much promised in Ipswich but very little is ever achieved

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Ipswich and proud

    Tuesday, June 10, 2014

  • @Ips Ent - I can't believe you went to all the effort of explaining possessive apostrophes to me for what even anyone with Key Stage 2 anything would recognize as a typo. And you call in question my ability to have an adult conversation? Hilarious. Have a wonderful weekend moaning about Ipswich. Again.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Scott Brock

    Saturday, June 7, 2014

  • Scott the childish bickering is showing you up. I would have thought anyone who is educated to KS2 (Key Stage 2) level of English, let alone A-level would have known that "I" is always upper-case and "haven't" means "have not". I am not sure what the " haven't' " is all about... why the second apostrophe? It either dictates a possessive case or marks an omission when words are shortened by contraction. Neither is applicable or correct. Such a shame as you clearly took a moment checking your comment... it happened to be the best English you have typed to date on this website, but no cigar! You can either own a limited company (unless it's private by guarantee such as with charities) in whole or part as a shareholder andor be an officer (director or company secretary) of a limited company. How exactly do you "have" a limited company? Not sure what the relevance is - they can be formed in 10 minutes from 99p (sometimes even with cash back from a bank or FREE if you get a certain bank account) - hardly rocket science! Cheap too. One would argue you should know more than a "little" about them to run it properly. I don't have an A grade at English A-Level. Who cares?

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Saturday, June 7, 2014

  • So the wine rack sits empty and unfinished for years and people moan, a new buyer is finally found and pledges to finish it and still people moan - guess some people are never happy unless they are moaning or picking fault with others!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    MZH

    Saturday, June 7, 2014

  • Oh and Ips Ent, like i said I have a limited company so i do know a little about them

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Scott Brock

    Friday, June 6, 2014

  • @ Ips Ent - i have an A at A level English so does that suffice? Factual data which is trying cast negativity across the whole affair which is unsavoury and un-called for. The business affairs of these gentlemen are their business if they haven't' committed any crimes or fraud then what's the issue? As with most ventures some succeed some fail that's a given... At least in the hands of someone new the wine rack might be finished. And the Wine rack was in the hands of administrators. It even says so in the article - i can and do bother to read that probably thanks to my A level English

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Scott Brock

    Friday, June 6, 2014

  • Scott, let me know when you pass your GCSE English! Would be good to have a proper grown-up conversation. ***** I am merely pointing out factual data and my opinion. There are no current adverse "issues" to talk of. Just saying don't get your hopes up until its complete. Even when it is complete it doesn't improve the waterfront experience too much, will just look a little nicer. ***** Would have thought you would understand that if it did change hands it would take at least 18 months for anything to progress each time it happens. Don't talk about limited companies and administrators like you know something. Ownership of the "wine rack" defaulted to the Irish Government when two Irish banks who financed it collapsed and required bailing out.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Friday, June 6, 2014

  • @ips sent - still not sure what the issue is? They bought it if they don't develop it then its up to them. It'll get sold on to the next person then the next. At least something stands a better chance of happening than with the administrator who did next to nothing. And I do know about limited companies, I have one myswlf.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Scott Brock

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • Scott, "Positions" mean limited company appointments either a director or secretary. It doesn't relate to a job position but a common law company officer. Be aware that on dissolution of a company, a directorship cease to exist... so resignations mentioned below are in addition to the dissolutions. Collectively this is very high. ***** I cannot help think someone is pulling the wool over our eyes... the article says Mr Howard is originally from Felixstowe and that he is a Managing Director for two NORWICH based businesses... perhaps not so much Mr Ipswich born-and-bred-and-forever as the articles makes out. ***** In regards to bankruptcy... a bankrupt cannot be a company director, but Scott, you are missing the point... the whole concept beyond a limited company is LIMITED liability... the company has its own entity separate from the person... if you are dishonest and your company owes money, unlike as a sole trader where you take your debts to the grave as a person... you simply close down (dissolve) the company.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • @ips ent and as for questioning the credentials of the developers... Well we've all resigned a few jobs in our time no doubt.... I don't know how old these chaps are but that sound reasonable to me. And isn't dissolving companies standard business practice? Were any of them bankrupt? Thats more of a concern but if they were they how would they raise the finance for this venture? In doubt they are paying for it out of their own pockets

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Scott Brock

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • @ IPS ent. I'm pro both. And at very least I'm pro something! And the council actually don't want to move the town to the waterfront they just want to ensure they are well linked so they benefit each other. In fact all planning approvals for the waterfront have a limit on retail unit size in order to prevent large stores moving from the town centre to the waterfront. The waterfront having the occasional special event or market itsnt going to hurt the town but the market should stay in the heart of the shopping area. As another poster says at least the developer ofbthis venture is actually willing to do something about it and not just moan all the time

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Scott Brock

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • Congratulations to Mr Howard - a real Ipswich Entrepreneur who has backed his judgement with real money and is investing in this town. We should celebrate this and acknowledge that this is a hugely symbolic event as well. Those "winers" (sic) who can't find a good word to say about this are sadly showing their true colours here. And those colours are not the ones of Ipswich. Whatever past mistakes may have been made, having someone with the confidence to invest and finish this project can only be positive. Now let's sort out the rest of it....

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    David C

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • You played a good game Scott but you were easily beaten with a simple trick. You are pro-Waterfront and anti-town; yet considering the council wants to make the waterfront the town centre... with the improved "links" between the two... you disagree with moving the market there... why? I seem to recall you being in favour of the event stalls at the waterfront, so why not move the market there? There is car parking both sides of the waterfront and all around with a few minute walk, many much cheaper than the town car parks. Its also less stress and traffic lights in many cases. ******* If the island was transformed into further car parking AND buses actually went to the waterfront (the lack of - including the free Saturday bus - shows its not commercially viable) it would be a better place for the market to be held and strengthens the waterfront's credentials. ***** As for the wine rack - a tourist attraction that will surely be missed - the developers are interested in profit (you said something like that in your previous post) and as soon as its sold they don't really care about if it falls down or have problems. I can also reveal Marina Developments (Ipswich) Ltd is a start up business... so if there were problems with it the company can fold and walk away from any financial problems surrounding it. I am sure its safe... ****** I can reveal Mr Howard has a history of resigning from 23 positions and has been involved in 27 dissolved companies. Mr Scowsil has 15 resigned positions and been involved with 17 dissolved businesses. Enterprise is about taking risks that do not always pay off... but those numbers are high and most are property related. Go figure.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • Paul Clement. Speaking from France? Ipswich central need people with local knowledge and pride, not those out to make a fast buck out of us and leave.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Mike Derruki

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • @Ips Ent - Move the market away from town? madness! People don't travel to places to see residential buildings whether occupied or not, it's irrelevant. People visit to go to galleries, eat, drink, view scenery, visit and see historical buildings or go to theatre - the waterfront ticks many of these boxes. Whilst some roads are private they are open to the public and i don't see why it would be in the interest of the University not to allow people to walk through it. I agree IBC should buy the Island and turn it into a park and tourist attraction with some other uses as well. As for the wine rack not being safe? Well do you really think someone would have bought it a cost likely to run into millions without checking that first? The verdict from last year as detailed in the Ipswich Star was that is WAS SAFE, not that it wasn't. So i'm not sure where you read that. Let's give the buyer some credit for having brains enough to work out if it's a viable venture - they are a local firm so it's not like they don't know about the history of the wine rack

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Scott Brock

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • IT'S ABOUT TIME RESIDENTS SAY "NO" TO THE WATERFRONT! Half of the land is private - no right of way... including through University Avenue near the car park - you are affectively trespassing to access from that way. ******************* Apparently the structure isn't safe, claims this newspaper from professional advice of a structural engineer a year or so back... the weather since cannot be improving this. If this was professional advice and not hearsay - it needs to be knocked down and rebuilt. At current there is no (or very little) profit in cost of knocking it down and rebuilding - just think how much of a loss it would be if the "homes" were reasonably priced. ******************* The council's inability to "zone" has stalled the wet docks development... the belief of building the university and the rest taking place as a result (of course some pre-date the uni development) - lack of planning - has caused major problems. Residential building is big as the riverside tick box adds value and being close to a university and a future "tourist attraction" helps. The council didn't really consider employment, retail or leisure. The truth is they didn't care... the university is a big boost for the town (and county) and is something added to their portfolio when they restart their "make Ipswich a city" campaign. ******************* The council should be making a compulsory purchase order on most of the land (particular the lorry park in the middle) on the "island" from New Cut East, turning it into a car park, recreational space, retail or relocating the town market there. ******************* The fact is IBC cannot afford it, they refuse to borrow to finance it and ironically since the pipe dream of making Ipswich close to a "seaside destination" as possible, the land has increased in value - doubled no doubt. The dream must STOP - and effort and monies need to be invested in the town centre... that's the traditional East to West axis, not just the Cornhill area!!! ******************* The waterfront is horrendous - who wants to visit to see unoccupied overpriced flats, derelict buildings, overpriced food and drink and having to walk underneath buildings... a proper architect would have removed the need to keep those ugly pillars; no doubt its a "feature" for the waterfront considering it rains more times than is sunny here. Everyone says it, "the Waterfront is lovely on a sunny day"... but more times than not its either cloudy or raining. Its REALLY SAD people visiting have to imagine what it would look like when completed in 10 years time, no other place do you go, and have to judge it on what it could become rather than what it is, today.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • @Chris - would cost about a million to knock it down, the the cost of planning for a new design and then to build again from scratch. It's going to b far more cost effective and not to mention quicker to finish off the current building... effectively all they have to do is clad it and fit it out... it could be finished within 6mth of the start date which is attractive to a businessman as it means they can make their money back faster. And I know you're kidding the waterfront does have more than a cafe and an estate agents - there are several bars, two galleries, restaurants, cafes, a hairdressers and even a couple of shops - even if they are sailing related! Yes some other types of retailers will be nice too of course - the more the better!!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Scott Brock

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • I'd prefer it be knocked down and have some smaller buildings or open space around the waterfront but something is better than nothing. If this can actaully create a largish area of retail that gets used it could be just what the waterfront needs to get the ratil as more than just a cafe (which may be clsoing) and an estate agents! Not sure how good the extra 300+ cars on the one way system will be and I agree with someone about the lack of community in rented accomodation. Better than leaving it in the state it is though!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Chris Church

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • Do a freedom of information act request on the council to see how many of these flats already on the docks are not being lived in , you will be amazed .

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Poppys Dad

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • More places to turn into rented accommodation with no community spirit from the vast majority . This is not good for any area . Some more student flats too and generally we know what that brings . I guarantee the sale price to the Ltd company was a right result for them . .

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Poppys Dad

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • Lots of buildings in Ipswich change hands but then nothing happens. Look at County Hall and the Odeon buildings. Let's hope some progress is made on the Waterfront soon. There are too many sites in the town which need tidying up and finishing off.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • With the amount of alcohol consumed in certain establishments at the weekend, making the waterfront a wonderfully welcoming place for the average "normal" person, particularly music lovers who can walk along listening to bass heavy noise pollution perhaps the name "Wine Rack" should stay?

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Citizen

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • As I keep getting my scratchings deleted by this wragg I will try again, Ipswich is great, the docks are the best in the world, the council are also the best in the world. Sorry I just see a pink pig fly by the window wow.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    a west

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • Bobobolinskih you should go to specsavers

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    pandy

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • What a bunch of negative sad people you are. The docks look great and are a huge asset to Ipswich, getting the wine rack finished and further developments there will be a big boost to the town.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    BoBoBolinski

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • David Ellesmere saying it is great news for the town ,i thought the docks was already the best place around or so this council keeps telling us ,if it's not why the free bus service to it, no the place is a dump and building flats will not help, nelson Mandela flats in only fools and horses looked a bit like them

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    pandy

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • Iconic? So's my wheelie bin then...

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Deep Throat

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • Whatever's done with it, I bet it still ends up looking as hideous as everything else built round the Wet Dock in the past couple of decades.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    beerlover

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

loading...
iwitness24 Your news is our news Facebook Like your local paper Twitter Join the conversation Ipswich Borough Council

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT