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Winerack a symbol of how the recession hit Ipswich eight years ago

PUBLISHED: 08:05 21 April 2017 | UPDATED: 09:36 21 April 2017

The Winerack building itself has changed little since this picture was taken in 2011. Picuture: ANDY ABBOTT.

The Winerack building itself has changed little since this picture was taken in 2011. Picuture: ANDY ABBOTT.

The second tower at the Regatta Quay development became a very visible symbol of how the recession hit Ipswich after work there stopped at the end of 2009.

Developer John Howard took cabinet minister Chris Grayling on a tour of the Winerack on the Ipswich waterfrontDeveloper John Howard took cabinet minister Chris Grayling on a tour of the Winerack on the Ipswich waterfront

It was being built by developers City Living in the site of the former Paul’s Maltings during the property boom of the late 2000s.

Like many other projects, City Living’s development was financed by money borrowed from Irish banks which almost collapsed in the worldwide slump. The money ran out at the end of 2009 and City Living went into administration in January 2010.

The skeleton of the second tower was left unfinished. We gave it the nickname “The Winerack” because of its appearance – and the name stuck.

For a few years there had been speculation that the skeleton could have been damaged by the exposure of concrete to the elements – surveys have found there has been no damage.

When property developer John Howard bought the building in 2014 there were hopes that work to finish the project would start soon – but the scale of the development was so great that financial assistance from government sources was needed.

This has taken longer to finalise than first thought – but finally all the pieces are in place to allow work on the project to start.

Throughout the last eight years the symbol of the recession continued to loom over the Ipswich Waterfront . . . and its almost iconic status prompted Mr Howard to officially name it The Winerack.

The building was mentioned by then-Prime Minister David Cameron during his visit to Ipswich in 2011 to see how the area was overcoming the recession.

And Mr Howard showed the building to cabinet minister Chris Grayling during last year’s referendum campaign during a tour to urge people to vote to leave the EU.

The news that work can finally start on completing the building will remove a huge eyesore from the Ipswich skyline – but it will still leave other sites in the Waterfront area needing considerable work.

The Mill is still incomplete and redevelopment is still needed at the last silo on the dock, owned by Investec.

The borough council has bought the site of the former St Peter’s Warehouse which could be redeveloped as the key entrance to the Waterfront area of the town over the next few years.

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