'This has been more than just business' - Why £30m Winerack project represents a new dawn for Ipswich
PUBLISHED: 08:36 12 June 2019 | UPDATED: 12:39 13 June 2019
For nearly a decade the half-built skeleton of Ipswich's Winerack loomed over the town's waterfront as a constant reminder of the devastating financial crash.
Today, things look very different.
The £30m development has completed its first collection of apartments - revealing its finished red brick and steel exterior for the first time.
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Once a relic to financial misery, the Winerack now represents something of a renaissance in investment in the town.
Ipswich Wharf Developments kicked off the redevelopment of the project with a £10m investment, followed by £15m from Home England's Home Building Fund and a £5m loan from New Anglia LEP's Growing Places Fund.
When completed the project will provide 150 residential homes and over 5,000 sq ft of commercial space.
"For many, the prospect of taking on a half-finished development of this size is a non-starter," said John Howard, director of Ipswich Wharf Developments, "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.
"We have been delighted to work on such an iconic development and investment project to complete this key part of the Ipswich marina vision.
"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 project has created a domino effect across Ipswich - with more new initiatives and investment coming into the town.
New Anglia LEP chairman Doug Field added: "We are seeing a renaissance happening in Ipswich with sites across the town shaping, reviving and connecting places.
"Investment in the Winerack on the Waterfront, The Maltings near the train station and Cornhill in the centre are boosting investor confidence and attracting interest nationally.
"In the Norfolk and Suffolk Economic Strategy, a blueprint for economic growth, Ipswich and the surrounding area are named as a priority place for growth and the property investment taking place demonstrates that Ipswich is moving up the value chain.
"One of the LEP's roles is facilitating this growth through investment, business support and collaboration, and we're looking forward to working with investors cementing Ipswich's position in the UK's and global property market."