Developers’ delight as one-time town eyesore now in running for RICS award

The Winerack apartment block on Ipswich waterfront, which was built between 2014 and 2019 Picture:

The Winerack apartment block on Ipswich waterfront, which was built between 2014 and 2019 Picture: INGLETON WOOD - Credit: Archant

Developers behind a project to revive a building which came to symbolise the effects of the 2008 recession say they are “thrilled” after it was nominated for a social impact accolade.

The Winerack apartment block was developed from a 19 storey empty shell which stood half built for a decade and had become an embarrassing town eyesore after the original developers went into administration.

It has now been shortlisted for the inaugural Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Social Impact Awards 2020 (East region) in the residential category.

MORE - Docks dispute settled - lifting threat of strike actionProperty developer John Howard, of Ipswich Wharf Developments Limited, bought the half-built site in 2014, and property and construction firm Ingleton Wood was appointed the same year to provide full architectural, planning, project management and quantity surveying services for the project.

Construction of the 150 apartments started in January 2018 and was completed in December 2019 to create one of the town's tallest residential buildings. It includes a 264-space integrated multiparker - one of the largest automatic car parking systems in the UK.

Paul Ruffell, director at Ingleton Wood and project manager for The Winerack, said they were "thrilled" that the scheme had been shortlisted.

"We are delighted with the stunning success of the project and look forward to its wider impact across Ipswich and Suffolk," he said.

"We used our multi-disciplinary expertise and experience to help complete the long-awaited build of the distinctive, high-profile building which towers above the Ipswich skyline and is one of the first visible landmarks for visitors and tourists.

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"It's hard to think of any other comparative project anywhere in the country. Finishing a 19-storey half-built concrete structure, which had stood empty for a decade presented quite an architectural and technical challenge. We had to use safety harnesses to survey each floor but extensive studies showed the site was in a very good condition despite the time."

Mr Howard admitted it had not been an easy project.

"For many, the prospect of taking on a half-finished development of this size is a non-starter, but for us, we couldn't wait to get started. Both my partner and I are Ipswich born and bred and this has been more than just a business project for us," he said.

"We have been delighted to work on such an iconic development and investment project to complete this key part of the Ipswich marina vision alongside Ingleton Wood. We have at long last seen our first buyers moving in to the apartments and are delighted to be able to offer fabulous homes for local people and beyond.

"We have also received tremendous support from Homes England, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, local MPs, the council and central government. It has taken a huge amount of hard work to get here, from so many people, to get this far. Because of them and our plan and determination to rescue this project, The Winerack is what it is today."

The RICS Social Impact Awards are the only nationally recognised awards programme that show the impact our built environment has on people's lives. They highlight excellence at a regional and national level, identifying the projects making a positive difference.