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Ipswich: Wine rack set for vintage future

09:19 18 July 2012

The incomplete Regatta Quay stands above the skyline in IpswichÄôs waterfront.

The incomplete Regatta Quay stands above the skyline in IpswichÄôs waterfront.

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THE Waterfront’s monument to the recession DOES have a future!

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The Regatta Quay wine rack has been a symbol of the downturn ever since developers City Living went into administration more than two years ago.

After the concrete was left exposed over two harsh winters – and record rainfall during the spring and summer this year – it had been thought that the only option would be to pull it down.

But now a thorough survey by experts working for agents Savills has concluded that the basic structure is sound – and the company is now looking at ways of completing the building.

Savills’ director of development Andrew Redman said his company hoped to start looking at a plan to develop the site in about five weeks’ time.

It could then take about six months before a detailed development plan emerged – meaning it could be next spring before the future of the building was confirmed.

There are three possibilities – Savills might look for a partner to work with on developing the building, it might carry out the work itself, or it might look to sell the site to a developer with a plan for the work.

Mr Redman said: “Whatever happens, things are looking a great deal more positive there and we hope things will be happening next year.”

Savills has opened a new sales centre at the Ipswich Waterfront. The new sales suite will market properties at the Mill and Regatta Quay and commercial units for administrators Baker Tilly which now controls both sites.

Nigel Millar, of Baker Tilly, said: “Although it’s been a lengthy process, we are now in a strong position to regenerate these two projects and breathe new life into the Waterfront that many have dismissed in past.

“These will be two iconic buildings for Ipswich and we’re working hard with our project managers from Savills to ensure a strategy is in place to see the developments finished.”

The buildings are now owned by Ireland’s National Asset Management Authority (NAMA) after the developers of both sites went into administration owing millions of pounds to Irish banks.

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer brought officials from NAMA to Ipswich last year, after which visit the administration process was speeded up.

He was pleased to hear work selling property on the Waterfront was being stepped up – but urged developers to ensure work on the wine rack was a priority.

He said: “That is a symbol for the Waterfront and indeed the whole town. I hope the agents work hard to get things going there soon or take the decision to get rid of it as soon as possible.

“If the building can be used it makes sense to get on and complete it, but it would not be good to leave it for many more years waiting for someone to come along and take a risk on developing it.”

The announcem,ent gives fresh hope to those who have claimed the structure is an eyesore. A completed building would show that the Ipswich economy is finally recovering - which is one of the aims of the Star’s I Love Ipswich Campaign.

Would you like to live in the wine rack? Tell us your views.

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5 comments

  • Great news!

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    Scott Brock

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

  • In view of the history of the Wine Rack, I would not buy a property in it, even at a discount. I hope that not too many people share my concerns, otherwise it will change from a wine rack into a white elephant.

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    Johnthebap

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

  • Chris Church - yeah i kind of agree that area being an open space would have been quite nice, but in a way if it gets completed its a nice two finger up to all those people who've been so negative about the waterfront. Also the public inside The Mill is likely to be exposed by knocking down the buildings on the front so that will create a nice space...

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    Scott Brock

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

  • I think I preferred the idea of it being ripped down. When all the development started around the docks and all the old buildings were torn down, the open space was quite nice. It now just feels very enclosed. At least something is going to happen with it though.

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    Chris Church

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

  • It's a hideous and an architectural angry display of concrete and steel which is totally at odds with the extant local environment as well as the more recent dockside industrial activity. After all this is Ipswich, a rural county town; not Manhattan or Canada Wharf.

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    Steve Blake

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

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

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(Photo by Jack Keen)

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